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Ecclesiastical Seals: Provinces, Dioceses, and Capitular 

Bodies and Personages, - - - - 9 


Seals of Monasteries, Religious Houses, Colleges, Monastic 

Orders, and Ecclesiastical Institutions, - - 64 




No. .")4. Seal of Eichard, Bishop of St. Andrews (1103-1177), - 110 

").>. EoGER, Bishop Elect of St. Andrews (about 1188), - 1:^1 
56. Obverse of the Seal of William Malvoisine, Bisnor of 

St. Andrews (1237), - - - - - li'3 
.")7. Reverse of the Seal of William Malvoisine, Bishop of 

St. Andrews (1237), ----- 12.J 
')8. First Seal of William Fraser, Bishop of St. Andrews 

(1281), 127 

r)9. Obverse of the Later Seal of William Fraser, Bishop 

OF St. Andrews (1292), - - - - 129 

60. Reverse of the Later Seal of William Fraser, Bishop 
OF St. Andrews (1292), - - - - - 131 

61. Seal of William Landells, Bishop of St. Andrews (1371), 133 

62. Seal of James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews (1450), 135 

63. "Sigillum Rotundum" of Alexander Stuart, Archbishop 
OF St. Andrews (1506), - - - - 137 

64. Seal of Alexander Stuart, Archbishop of St. Andrews, 
Commendator of Dunfermline (1512), - - - 139 

65. Seal of David Beton, Cardinal Archbishop of St. 
Andrews (1545), - - - - - HI 

66. Later Seal of St. Andrews Cathedral (Thiiteentli Century), 1 43 

67. Seal of Henry Le Chen, Bishop of Aberdeen (1292), 145 

68. Reverse of the Seal of the Chapter of AukPvDekn 
(Fourteenth Century), - - - - - 1 17 

69. Seal of George Shorsewood, Bishop of Brechin (14()1) 111* 

70. Seal of John Balfour, Bishop of Brechin (1476), - 151 

71. Seal of the Chapter of Caithness (Thirteenth Century). 153 


~-2. Skal of 'Rich AIM) dk Prkbkxda, Bishop of Dl'xkkld, op, 

SkCRETI'M nF ■|HK ('TIAPTKP> OF DrNKKT.O (1210), - - 1.").") 

73. of the Seal of tiik ('iiaptki: of J)rxKELii 

(Thirteeiitli ('entiny), - - - - - 1")7 

74. Reverse of the Skai- of tiik ('iiaptki: of Dunkeld 

(Thirteenth ("entuiy), - - - - - 159 

7"). Seal of ttik Chapter of Op.knev (Fourteenth Contuiv), Ifil 
7f). Revekse of the Second Skai. of Rohkist Wishaut, Bishop 

of (tLASGOW (131.")), . - - . . ]f;:5 

77. Seal of William Lauder, Bishop of Glasgow (1417), 105 

78. Seal of John de Carrick, Chancellor of Glasgoav (1371), 1G7 

79. Obverse of the Seal of Alan, Bishop of Argyle (1250- 

1202), ------- 109 

80. Reverse of the Seal of Alan, Bishop of Argvlk (1250- 

1202), - - - - - - - 171 

81. Seal of a Bishop of Argyle (Fomteenth op Fifteentli 

Century), - - - - - - 173 

82. Obverse of the Seal of (Iilbkrt, Bishop of (andida 

Casa (1235-1253), - - - - - - 175 


1253), - - - - - - - 177 

84. Obverse of the Seal of Henry, Bishop of Candida Casa 

(1259), 179 

85. Reverse of the Seal of Henry, Bishop of Candida Casa 

(1259), - 181 

80. Seal of Thomas, Bishop of Candida Casa (1302), - - 183 

87. Obverse of the Skal of Arbroath Abbey (Thirteenth 

Centurv), - - - - - - 185 

88. Reverse of the Skal of Arbroath Abbey (Thirteenth 

Century), - - - - - - - 187 

89. Seal of Brother W. Mathew, Monk of Arbroath 

(Thirteenth Century), ----- 189 

90. Seal of '^hk Convknt of Ardciiattan (15G4), - - 191 


No. !>1. Skal of Balmerixo Abukv (1.")30), - - - liJIi 

„ 92. Skal ok the Minister of the Trinitarian Friars, Berwick- 

I'PON-TwEED (Fifteenth (Jentury), - - - 1 9") 

93. Seal of Cambuskenneth Abbey (Thirteenth Centurv), - 197 

94. Seal of the Prior and ('iiaptkh of Candida C'asa 
(Tliirteenth Century), - - - - - 199 

95. Common Seal of Coluingham Nunnery (I53G), - - 201 
90. Seal of Robert Blacader, Prior of Coldingiiam and 

Apostolic Prothonotary (ir)]9), - - - - 20.3 

97. COMMON Seal of Deer Abbey (Thirteenth Century), - 20") 

98. Common Seal of Dunbar Provostry (14.33), - - - 207 

99. First Seal of Dunfermline Abbey (about 1200), - 209 

100. Obverse of the Later Seal of Dunfermline Abbey (about 
1200), - - - ,- - - - 211 

101. Reverse of the Later Seal of the Chapter of Dunfermline 
Abbey (about 1200), - - - - - 213 

102. Seal of Ralph, Abbot of Dunfermline (1292), - - 21.') 

103. Seal of St. Catherine's Convent, Edinburgh (1.")G2), - 217 

104. First Seal of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh (1141), - 219 
10."). Later Seal of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh (al»out l.'>.")0), 221 
lOG. Later Seal (jf the Collegiate Church ok Holy Trinity, 

Edinburgh (1574), ------ 223 

107. Seal of the Preceptory ok Hospital of St. Nicholas, 
CjLasgow (1567), - . . . . 225 

108. Common Seal of the Abbot and Convent of Hijlywood, 
1577 (Thirteenth Century), .... 007 

109. Obverse of the Seal of Inchakfrev Abbey (Fourteenth 
Century), .-...- 229 

no. Reverse ok the Seal of Inciiafkrev Aisbey (Fourteenth 

Century), - - - - - - 231 

111. Obverse of the Seal of Inchcolm Aiujey (1577), - - 233 

112. Reverse of the Seal of Inchcolm Abbey (1577), - 235 

113. Official Seal of Jedburgh or Jeddeworth (1532), - 237 


Xn. in. 

„ II"'. 

,. IH). 

., 117. 

„ 11«. 

., Hi). 

.. 1:^0. 



OiiVERSE OK TiiK TiiiiM) Sk.\l OF Kelso Ahuey (Fourteenth 

Century), ---... -^'.i'.) 

Revkkse (IF TiiK Sk.\[. of Kklso AiiUKV ( Fourteen til 

(Vnturv), - - - - - - - 241 

Skai.oftuk Prec'E1'to1!Y(U' St. A.nthonv .\r Lkfch (Thirteentli 

(Vntuiy), -.-... ■24;i 

Skai. nv Li.\i,ii'H(i()\v Lki'kr Holsk (i;i.")7), - - - "245 

OnvERsE OF THE Seal OF Paisley Ahbey ( I .")3()), - 247 

Reverse of the Seal of Paisley Abbey (1")20), - - 249 

Seal of Plu.scardine Priory (1455), - - - 251 

Seai> of John Hepburn, Prior of the Austin Canons of 

St. Andrews, etc. (1504), ----- 253 
Obverse ov the Later Seal of Scone Abbey (Fourteenth 

Century), .-.-.. 255 

Reverse of the Latfi; Skal of Sconk Abbey (Fourteenth 

Century), ------- 257 

Seal of the Vicar-General of the Scottish Dominican 

Friars (Fifteenth Century), - - - - 259 

Seal of the Provincial of the Scottish Carmelites (1544), 261 
Seal of Sir James Sandilands, Kniuht, Pi!Eceptor of 

ToRPHICHEN (1550), ----- 2(53 



Ecclesiastical Seals : Provinces, Dioceses, and 
• Capitular Bodies and Personac^es. 

IN this division of the work an endeavour will be made to 
present to the reader some remarks on the most prominent 
and important Ecclesiastical and Monastic Seals of the 
country, many of which are of great beauty and pleasing design, 
and all evince the highest historical interest. They begin in 
the early days of the twelfth century, with simple unpretentious 
work ; their best period is the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries ; 
and they gradually decline in charm and attraction as they 
verge towards the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, after 
which epoch the seal, as a vehicle for artistic expression, and 
claimant for admiration, on the score of masterly combination of 



design with execution, was, to all intents and purposes, a thing 
as unattainable as the re-erection of a ruined cathedral or the 
restoration of an ancient picture. 

Scotland was particularly fortunate in possessing among her 
prelates of the Church many dignitaries of notable taste, who 
selected for their seal artists men fully up to the foremost mark 
of their age- in this respect, and capable of producing work not 
the least inferior to English and French contemporary execution. 
The See of St. Andrews has bequeathed to posterity to-day 
a fine series of the seals of her bishops and archbishops. One 
of the earliest is that of Bishop Robert, attached to a 
document bearing the date of a.d. 1140. The simple figure of 
the bishop, standing full length, and facing to the front, lifting 
up the right hand in the act of pronouncing the benediction, and 
holding in the left hand the curved crozier or pastoral staff 
— symbolical of his pastoral office — is strictly conventional, and 
was repeated, with unimportant variations and subordinate 
additions derived from sacred emblems, heraldic allusions, or 
architectural detail, all through the lengthy period already 
mentioned ; it even appears on the most modern example of 
episcopal seals. Earnald, the successor of Bishop Robert in the 
See of St. Andrews, on elevation to which he had surrendered 


the abbacy of Kelso, followed the same style on his seal, but 

his seal exhibits an improved method of design and execution. 

His counterseal was an antique oval engraved intaglio gem. 

Bishop Richard, whose seal is extant on a deed dated in a.d. 

1 173, is depicted therein much in the same manner as his 

immediate predecessors, but the vestments which he wears are 

ornamented with embroidery, an indication of that improvement 

in the arts and sciences which was beginning to manifest itself 

at the close of the twelfth century. It is to be noticed that 

these three prelates style themselves Episcopi Scottorum, 

Bishops of the Scots, without reference to the exclusive church 

jurisdiction over the See of St. Andrews. The crozier, with its 

crook turned towards the bearer, has been declared by some, 

who love to observe in minutest details some veiled significance, 

to indicate that it marked the right of exercising spiritual 

jurisdiction within the bounds of the see or province over which 

the bishop presided ; whereas the use of the crozier, with the 

curve turned outward, or away from its holder, represents, 

according to the same expounders, a wider power, and more 

extended influence, reaching beyond the confines of the see, and 

pointing to the possession of primatial rather than episcopal 

functions by the dignitary thus depicted. 


Bishop Richard's seal is interesting from the fact 
that the prelate has impressed on the back of the orig-inal 
example his gem-ring. The fashion of using an antique 
gem or precious stone, engraved in intaglio with a classical 
or mythological subject, set in gold or silver, as a finger- 
rinof, with a text or motto round the rim, had become a 
very favourite custom in the early middle ages. A large 
number of valuable rings fashioned after this model, used not 
only by dignitaries of the Church, both regular and secular, but 
by nobles and landowners, still exist, to the adornment and 
enrichment of our museums and private collections ; and an 
equally large number, now no longer extant, are known only by 
the impressions which have been made from them upon the 
seals attached to mediaval charters and other documents. This 
ring-seal of l)ishop Richard measured about one inch and a 
quarter by thirteen-sixteenths of an inch. The design on the 
gem is that of a two-horsed chariot, or classic biga, turned to the 
right, anc^the date is not improbably to be attributed to the second 
century of the Christian era. How it fell into the hands of the 
bishop is, of course, a matter for conjecture : he may have 
acquired it in Rome, if he attended the Papal Court personally 
on the occasion of his consecration to the See ; he may have seen 


it in the possession of the engraver who was employed to make 
his seal ; or, as Abbot of Kelso, it may have been brought to his 
notice by travellers to whom an abbey was ever a wonted asylum 
of safe refuge from an unsafe and often dangerous world without 
the walls of privileged sanctuary. The legend which the gem- 
seal bears is — 


which was a favourite inscription on seals, and is capable of two 
interpretations. It may be translated — " When broken, I disclose 
the secret " — appropriate enough, if a closed letter or document 
were so sealed with it that the seal must be broken before the 
secret of the contents could be read. It may also be read — " I, 
the secrehcjn, or privy seal, reveal things broken ;" that is, if this 
document has been tampered with, or attempt made to transfer 
the seal to another document (a not infrequent practice), the 
broken state of this impression will reveal the action of the 
forger, and enable the fraud to be detected. 

The death of Bishop Richard gave rise to disputes which led 
to the presence of Alexis, or Alexius, afterwards appointed 
Cardinal of Santa Susanna in the Papal Court, in Scotland. He 
has left an impression of a remarkable seal attached to a charter 
in the Cottonian collections of the British Museum. It bears a 


dexter hand and vested arm issuing from the dexter, and holding 
up a slipped branch of palm, myrtle, or olive, not improbably 
emblematic of that ecclesiastical peace which he had come from 
afar to re-establish in the realm of Scotland. The last twelfth 
century seal of the See of St. Andrews is that of I)ishop Roger, 
son of Robert, Earl of Leicester. He was Lord Chancellor in 
1 1/8, and appears on his seal of Bisho[) Elect, attached to a 
document about ii8S. As Bishop Elect, that is, during the 
interval between nomination and consecration, he could not 
properly be represented with the crozier, nor with the uplifted 
hand of blessing. He is, therefore, rightly depicted as seated, 
holding a lily-flower in the right hand, and a sacred book in the 
left hand. The fald-stool on which he sits terminates, like that 
of some of the French Royal Seals, in animals' heads. The 
legend is — 


After his consecration a seal was prepared and used, about a.d. 
1 1 93, showing the conventional figure of the bishop in plenary 
power, with appropriate vestments, the uplifted hand, and the 
crozier, and standing on a curved dais or footboard, and the 
legend declares him to be Scottorum Episcoptis. 


William Malvoisine, his successor, employed on a seal, 
attached to a deed of the year 1237, the same conventional 
manner of representation, but added in the field of the seal two 
estoiles, or heraldic stars, wavy. His legend here also is 
couched in the same terms, as Bishop of the Scots. The 
progress of embellishment is enhanced by the use of an interest- 
ing counterseal, or reverse, on which is shown a patriarchal cross 
between two similar estoiles, and the sacred letters, alpha and 
omega, pointing symbolically to our Lord. The leg-end, however, 
refers to the Blessed Virgin — Ave Maria Gracia Plena. This 
bishop had used, ten years previously, a smaller seal, on which 
is given his effigy, half length, turned to the right, with legend — 


This may have been the privy seal, or secretiim, of his chapter 
rather than his own personal seal. Bishop David Benham 
continues the same design, but substitutes for the two estoiles 
one wavy estoile of six points, and a crescent below it. This 
particular emblematic device of crescent and star, or sun-star, 
and moon, has been reasonably supposed to indicate the heavens, 
or firmament, in which, at the Creation, the Creator placed these 
luminaries. Another explanation is that by these is pointed out 


the vanquishing of the Turks by the Christians during the 
progress of the Crusades, the Turkish emblem being the 
crescent, which succunibs to the sun of righteousness. Bishop 
David's counterseal is devoted to representing his eponymic 
patron, Saint David, seated on a throne, and below, under a 
triple arch, a figure of the bishop adoring his guardian saint, 
with the imperfect legend in which occurs the phrase, Doniine, 
David, ave, etc. Bishop Abel, whose date is about 1253-4, used 
the episcopal figure, with embroidered vestments, and adds the 
crescent and sun-star, already explained. 

Bishop Gameline's period was rich in details of adornment, 
hence we find him represented on his seal turned to the right, 
and with the field, or background, replenished with trefoils and 
quatrefoils, a peculiarly Scottish form of embellishment. The 
counterseal of this bears, among other representations, that of 
the crucifixion of the Patron Saint of the Scots, St. Andrew, 
placed on a cross saltire, between two executioners, fastening his 
limbs to the cross beams with cords : overhead is a trefoiled 
canopy of Gothic architectural detail, from out of which is issuing 
an angel holding a crown for the martyr's head. An appropriate 
legend, in rhyming pentameter verse, unfortunately imperfect, 
surrounds this interesting design. 


William Wisehead, 1273-9, imitates the Crucifixion scene 
employed by his predecessor, with variant details. There is 
also extant a seal of this ecclesiastic before his elevation to the 
See. It bears the curious allegorical design of a fox courant in 
front of a tree of three branches on which two birds are perched. 

Bishop William Eraser's seal introduces the period of greater 
elaboration, and of the introduction of armorial bearino^s. His 
first seal, used in a.d. 1281, presents the prelate to us attired in 
embroidered vestments, with mitre, crozier, and uplifted right hand 
of blessing : he stands on a carved pedestal. The background, 
diapered lozengy, symbolises the fishing net of St. Peter, 
wherein to catch souls ; and the cinquefoil, set in each opening of 
the meshes, alludes to the armorials of the Fraser family. On 
each side is placed a shield of arms, charged with three roses, 
for the same family. His second seal is known to be attached 
to a deed dated in the year 1292. This demonstrates a still 
further advance in the art of seal design, by presenting the 
figure of the bishop within a carved Gothic niche, provided with 
slender shafts at the sides, and a crocketted canopy. Each of 
these seals possesses a similar counterseal, which appears to 
have, therefore, not been altered when the change from the first 
to the second obverse was made. The dominant figure in the 


coLinterseal is St. Andrew, crucified, with a hand issuing from a 
carved canopy overhead, and placing the crown of martyrdom 
on the head of the saint. Over the shields of arms of Fraser, at 
the sides, are set, on the dexter side, a crescent moon ; on the 
sinister side, an estoile, or sun-star, of which some notice has 
been already taken. 

The closing years of the thirteenth century introduce to our 
notice the very beautiful seal of Bishop William de Lamberton, 
formerly Chancellor of Glasgow. From an impression of this 
episcopal seal, attached to a deed dated in the year 1305, it is 
evident that a departure was made from the conventional 
character of a bishop's seal. Here, on an arch, below which is 
placed a half-length effigy of the bishop, is set the representation 
of St. Andrew, crucified, on his saltire-shaped cross, between, on 
the right side, a mullet, that is, a five-pointed star, and a fish 
holding a ring, in reference to St. Kentigern of Glasgow, and 
on the left a hand of blessing, a bird — also connected with 
Glasgow — and a crescent. Over the saint's figure is the hand 
setting the crown upon the saint's head, and issuing from a 
carved canopy, charged with a lamb, or Agnus Dei, by way of a 
rebus, upon the surname of the bishop. The legend discards the 
formula Episcopi Scottorutn for Episcopi Sancti Andree, which 


was constantly used from this time forward. The counterseal, 
or secrehtm, retains the type of the crucified saint, and adds two 
shields of arms and three escallops. 

. Bishop James Bene, or Bennet, employed on his seal, an 
impression of which occurs under the date of 1329, the same 
design of the martyrdom, with four executioners, two of whom 
are standing on ladders to enable them to reach up to the 
victim's hands. Gordon, we are told, calls the figures on the 
ladders a male and a female devil ; but it is difficult to see how 
this can be substantiated. The middle of the fourteenth century 
shows another fine seal of this series, used by Bishop William 
Landells, 1342- 1385. St. Andrew, on his cross, is placed here 
between two shields of the Royal Arms of Scotland, one 
differenced, as mentioned below. The subordinate effigy of the 
bishop, placed in base under an arch, is accompanied by a shield 
of arms of the Landells family, bearing an orle, and another of 
the Royal Arms of Scotland, differenced with a staff and sceptre 
in saltire over all, an heraldic arrangement evidently significant 
of the see, and one which must be accepted as the first shield of 
arms of the See. Bishop Walter Trayl's seal, extant in the 
year 13S5, contains the same motive of the martyrdom of St. 
Andrew, but enclosed in a carved Gothic niche, enriched with 


architectural canopy and tabernacle work at the sides. The 
shields, which are introduced in the base at each side of the 
episcopal effigy, are the Royal Arms of Scotland and the family 
of Trayl, \iz., in chief two mascles, in base a slipped trefoil. 
The delicate counterseal of this fine seal exhibits a half-length 
figure of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Saviour, placed 
within a carved Gothic niche with buttressed sides. In front of 
the Mother is a shield of the family arms of Trayl, supported by 
two lions sejant gnardant addossed. 

Bishop Henry Wardlaw's seal demonstrates the culminating 
excellence of the seals of the bishops of St. Andrews. It is to 
be regretted that the impression by which it is recorded is so 
imperfect. The very early years of the fifteenth century did not 
suffice to detract in any way from the transcendental treatment 
of the architecture, whereas in later seals of this century a 
distinct deterioration may be noticed. In this the designer has 
traced a very fine architectural niche, probably enriched with an 
elaborate niche (now wanting in the impression), and still 
retaining the subordinate niches in the open work at the sides. 
The central and paramount figure is that of the Patron, St. 
Andrew, in the conventional form of a crucified martyr on the 
cross to which his name has always been applied. At his sides 


are two angels, holding shields of arms of Scotland, in the 
upper side niches, and figures of St. Paul and St. Peter, each 
accompanied with their customary emblems, on the lower niches 
at the sides. The effigy of the bishop, under a round-headed 
arch in the base part of the seal, is placed between two shields 
of arms attributed to two families of Wardlaw. 

Bishop James Kennedy's seal, of a.d. 1450, is a fine 
example of elaboration. The carved Gothic shrine, enriched 
with a canopy of architecture, encloses in a small niche the 
figure of the Blessed Virgin and Child. The principal figure is 
that of St. Andrew, crucified on a saltire cross, supported or set 
up on a shield of arms of Scotland, ensigned with a crown. 
Side niches contain effigies of saints, and the representation of 
the bishop is in a niche in the base of the seal. He is looking 
up in adoration of his patrons, and beside him are two shields of 
arms, that on the sinister being for Kennedy, viz., three crosses 
crosslet fitchees ; that on the dexter, similar, within the royal 
tressure flory counterfiory, derived from the royal arms of the 
realm ; and apparently the use of this tressure corroborates the 
suggestions made above, that the earliest arms of the See of St. 
Andrews were connected with those of the kmgdom. This 
bishop also used a " sigillum rotundum " in 1453, which bears 


the same details of St. Andrew crucified, and the Kennedy family 
shield of arms charged with the honourable episcopal addition 
of the royal tressure, and supported by two kneeling angels. 

Patrick Graham, the last of the bishops, followed in his seal 
the example of his predecessors by employing the representation 
of St. Andrew, the royal arms, and the addition of the tressure 
to the family arms ; but in place of the fii^mres of the Blessed 
Virgin and the Child, he introduces a similitude of the Holy 

The bishops now are replaced by archbishops, and the seal of 
Archbishop William Schivez claims our attention. It shows an 
elaborate architectural design, composed of three Gothic niches. 
In the centre stands St. Andrew, no longer crucified, but 
beatified, holding his saltire cross and a book. On the left is 
St. Michael, the archangel, holding- a long cross and the scales, 
typical of the last judgment ; on the right is a sainted bishop. 
In a small canopied niche overhead is a group emblematic of the 
Holy Trinity, and the shield of arms of Scotland finds a place . 
above. In the lower part of this design, under three round- 
headed arches, is the archbishop, between two saints, one 
of whom, from the fawn which accompanies him, may be 
intended for St. Giles, to whom that emblem has been attached 


by the hagiographers. His " sigillum rotundum " shows St. 
Andrew's effigy, and the family arms of Schivez of Mureton, 
viz., three mountain-cats passant in pale. 

The sixteenth century seals of this province are introduced 
by that of James Stuart, second son of King James III., Papal 
Leg-ate, Commendator of Holy Cross, etc. The art has, how- 
ever, begun to fail, and the comparison of the details here with 
those of previous seals indicates only too clearly the greatness 
of the decadence. St. Andrew, the Holy Trinity, and Michael, 
the archangel, it is true, re-appear, and in base the archbishop 
kneels in adoration of these celestials, between figures of St. 
Benedict (perhaps) and St. Giles ; but the pinnacles and 
crockettings are too heavy, and the balance of proportion 
between the principal motives and the subordinate details has 
not been well maintained. His smaller seal bears the shield of 
Scotland on an archiepiscopal cross, ensigned with a duke's 
coronet, and with two unicorns for heraldic supporters. Several 
seals of this prelate are extant with variant details of small 

Archbishop Alexander Stuart, natural son of King James I\'., 
Lord Chancellor, Primate of all Scotland, Legate Apostolic, 
imitates the foregoing large seal of Archbishop James Stuart. 


His seal as Cardinal is also an adaptation or imitation of the 
same. As Commendator of Dunfermline, he used a seal on 
which, inter alia, appear representations of St. Andrew, the 
Blessed Virgin, and two of the national flowers, the thistle, 
slipped and leaved. Archbishop Andrew Forman used, in a.d. 
I 5 I 7, in his seal a figure of St. Andrew standing behind a large 
saltire cross, between effigies of St. Paul and St. Peter, each 
indicated by his appropriate and customary emblems. The 
family arms of Forman and Horsburgh are also introduced, with 
the motto — 


In his " sigillum rotundum," in addition to similitudes of the 
Blessed Virgin and St. Andrew and the coats of arms, we see 
St. Mary Magdalene, with her emblem, the Box of Precious 
Ointment. Archbishop James Beton, in 1527, employed a 
poorly - executed copy of the above-mentioned "sigillum 
rotundum " of Archbishop Forman, but with the substitution of 
the shield of arms of Beton and Balfour quarterly, behind which 
is a scroll, bearinif the motto : Misericordia. There is a 
counterseal belonging to this seal, bearing a similar shield of 
arms on a St. Andrew's cross and crozier, surmounted by a scroll 
inscribed with the same motto. 


David Beton or Betoun, Cardinal Archbishop and Legate, 
has left to our notice a very interesting seal and counterseal, 
attached to a document dated in 1542, of which Laing prepared 
casts, now in the British Museum. Here the large obverse of 
the pointed oval seal, measuring nearly four inches by two and a 
half inches, bears, within a row of three niches, enriched with 
carved canopies and tracery, full-length figures of the Virgin and 
Child, St. Andrew, and a sainted bishop holding a staff. Below 
is set a fine shield of arms bearing, quarterly, Beton and Balfour. 
The whole design is on a long cross, and ensigned with a 
cardinal's hat. On a double scroll above the shield is inscribed 
the cardinal's motto — 


In the legend this prelate styles himself "Totius Rcgni Scotie 
Primas Legatus Natus," The counterseal is circular, and has 
a diameter of little more than one inch. It bears an ornamental 
shield of the above-mentioned arms, accompanied with the cross, 
the hat of the cardinalate, and the motto already described. 
Archbishop Beton also used the "sigillum rotundum," of which 
earlier examples have been alluded to. In this instance its 
design resembles in general aspect that found on the foregoing 



seal of dignity, with the same motto and a similar legend. The 
same prelate, after his appointment to be Presbyter Cardinal of 
St. Stephen in Celio Monte in the Papal Court, employed, in 
1545, a seal not very dissimilar to, but somewhat larger than, 
that already described, with the exception that the figures in the 
side niches are there replaced by representations of St. Peter 
and St. Paul, each apostle being, as is usual in art, accompanied 
with his accredited emblems. The legend introduces the newly 
conferred title, with the words, " TT. S. Stephai in Celio 
Monte S.R. E. Pbri. Car., etc." 

Archbishop John Hamilton, Legate a Latere in 1548, uses 
the same style of seal, employing effigies of St. Andrew and St. 
John the Baptist in place of the saints previously represented. 
His shield is quarterly — 1.4. three cinquefoils for Hamilton, 2.3. 
a lymphad for Arran. This prelate's motto is — 


and his legend is somewhat unconventional — 





which in full signifies " Sigillum Reverendi Domini Johannis 
Sancti Andree Archiepiscopi Regni Scotie Primatis cum 
potestate a latere Sancte Sedis Apostolice Legati." This 
appears to be the last of the Gothic seals of the archbishops 
of Glasgow, and an impression is extant attached to 
a document dated in 1553. The "sigillum rotundum " of 
Archbishop Hamilton bears the same designs, set in three niches, 
with tabernacle work at the sides, carved after the newly intro- 
duced style of the Renaissance, and accompanied by the badly 
spelled motto — 


Later seals perpetuate these designs with figures of St. Andrew 
and shields of arms. The last to be mentioned is the seal of 
Archbishop James Sharp, 166 1 -1679, wherein the prelate stands 
holding in his hands the saltire cross of St. Andrew and a 
crozier. The legend makes reference to the restoration of the 
cathedral under the auspices of King Charles II., in 1661. 

The subordinate dignitaries of the cathedral have not left 
many seals behind them. The seal of Laurence, the official, 
1 202-1 233, shows the impression of an antique oval intaglio 
gem, engraved with the figure of a goddess ; that of Master 


Andrew, a later official, 1245, shows his effigy, with book in 
hand. The office seal of the officials in the fifteenth century bore 
the head of a bishop or archbishop above a shield of arms of the 
See. The official seal of the Commissary, in the time of Queen 
Mary, bore a slipped thistle-flower, ensigned with a crown, 
between the initials of the Queen, M.R. On the official seal of 
the \'icar-General of St. Andrews, we observe a figure of the 
patron saint upon a background replenished with trefoil sprigs, 
the return to the use of this emblem, of which some notice has 
been taken in the chapter devoted to the seals of the kings, at 
so late a period being very remarkable. 

The Chapter Seals show views of the cathedral. The first seal 
occurs in 1251 ; a later type in the same century, apparently 
altered as a third seal, in use in 1450 ; a fourth, copied from the 
third, in the sixteenth century. The central tower of St Rule 
appears on all, with varying emblems, among which are notice- 
able — the Divine hand of blessing, a saltire and a cross in the 
first seal ; in the second and third the saltire cross and hand of 
blessing, a crescent and an estoile, and in base a triquetra or 
interlaced ribbon of three pointed loops in triangle, perhaps 
emblematic of the Holy Trinity, and decidedly interesting for 
the employment of knot work, which appears to have been so 


popular in Scotland upon ecclesiastical memorials of departed 
members of the Church, and which has recently formed the 
subject of a work by Mr. J. R. Allen, F.S.A. Scot. In the 
fourth and latest seal, the base contains a tlower-pot, not 
infrequently an emblem of our Lord, " The Vine," the foliage 
springing from which replenishes the background of the seal. 
A few seals of members of the chapter are preserved, among 
them that of Thomas Stuart, a natural son of King Robert II., 
in 1443, where the design is that of an angel, supporting a shield 
of Royal Arms of Scotland, with over all a bend compony 
counter-compony, an interesting variation of the family arms 
of the Stuarts. 

The See of Aberdeen contributes many very good examples 
of seals of vScottish prelates to our study. Among them one of 
the best is that of Henry Le Chen, 1281-1328. Here is repre- 
sented the favourite design of the Assumption of the Blessed 
Virgin in a wavy aureola of the pointed oval, or vesica shape, 
accompanied by eight angels issuing from clouds, and swinging 
their censers. The Virgin wears the nimbus, and carries in her 
right hand a palm branch, and in her left a book. Above is a 
half-length figure of the Almighty Father, holding a crown as if 
about to place it on the head of the Virgin. In the background 


are seven estoiles. Above the whole design is placed a conven- 
tionally-designed canopy of ecclesiastical architecture. Below it 
is an arched niche with arcaded sides, with which is the mitred 
figure of the bishop kneeling in adoration, as if praying in the 
words of the legend — 


The same Divine personage forms the subject of the seal of 
Alexander Kinnynmont, who occupied the See from about 1337 
to 13S2, but here we have another episode in the life. The 
archangel Gabriel holds a scroll inscribed with the eternal 
words, AVE MARLA., at her Annunciation. St. Andrew and St. 
Joseph are at her side, the mitred bishop kneels below, under an 
arch, and between two shields of arms. Bishop William 
Elphinstone has left impressions of three seals, one appertaining 
to his office of vicar-general, in i486, where the figure of St. 
Andrew, shield, of arms, and a baton, emblematic of official 
jurisdiction, supplying the design; another, the "sigillum 
rotundum," shows figures of the Virgin Mary holding the Child, 
and of St. Kentigern with his emblem, a fish. This occurs in 
1490. His third seal is entitled "sigillum autenticum," and was 


used in 1501. Here, as In the former example, the Virgin and 
Child, and St. Kentigern, with the ring and fish symbolically 
associated with him, form the principal subjects. Bishops 
Gavin Dunbar, 1 5 18- 1 531 ; William Stuart, 1532- 1545 ; and 
William Gordon, 1 546-1 577, introduce the Virgin and Child 
into their respective seals. Later bishops of Aberdeen appear 
to have abandoned the representation of sacred persons in favour 
of heraldic design. The use of effigies of Divine Personages was 
discouraged about this period. The Chapter Seals include that of 
the cathedral, used in the fourteenth century, where the one side 
shows the Virgin and Child in a Gothic niche between the Sun 
and the Moon, with other details of no exceeding interest ; but 
the reverse, or counterseal, is worthy of notice as bearing on a 
platform a representation of the Nativity of our Lord, with the 
star of Bethlehem shining overhead. Here the rhyming 
hexameter, which seems to have severely taxed the ingenuity of 
its author, quaintly describes the situation — 


The bishops of Brechin have also bequeathed to antiquaries 
of to-day a goodly number of seals. These, for the most part. 


pourtray the Holy Trinity, treated in various conventional and 
artistic ways. That of Albinus, or Alwin, 1248 to about 1256, 
bears the episcopal figure with embroidered vestments, standing 
in profile, and holding his staff with the curve turned outwards. 
The attitude here recalls those of Roger of St. Andrews, 1193, 
Walter of Glasgow, 1227, Clement of Dunblane, 1233, and 
Bricius of Moray, 1208. From the recurrence of this very 
beautiful design, it would appear, as I have shown in the British 
Museum catalogue, that all these seals, and possibly others not 
extant, were the work of the same engraver, or derived from the 
same source. In the field are a crescent and a colon of two 
pellets. Bishop William, about 1289-90, employed the design 
of Our Lord in glory, with the orb of the universe, and 
pronouncing benediction, and in base the bishop himself in 
adoration. In some seals, as in that of Patrick of Leuchars, 
1354-1376, the Trinity is set in a niche, and the bishop kneels 
in adoration beneath an arch. This style is followed by Bishop 
John de Carnotto, 1429- 1456. Bishop George Shorsewood, who 
held the office of Lord High Chancellor, varied this design by 
representing on his seal the Pietd, or Virgin Mary holding the 
dead figure of her Son after the descent from the cross. His left 
foot being placed upon a sphere or orb of the world, emblematic 


of the victory of Our Lord, who has purchased the world with 
His death. Laing, strangely enough, considers this scene to be 
a Trinity also. Bishop Balfour, 1466- 1500, and later prelates 
revert to the representation of the Trinity, but Bishop Andrew 
Lamb uses the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, in allusion to his 
name. The Chapter Seal is known by a fine impression attached 
to a deed dated 1509 in Laing's collections. Here we see a 
finely-designed group of the Holy Trinity with the curious detail 
of the Almighty Father wearing the cruciferous nimbus more 
usually connected with the Son. 

Of Caithness we have not many extant seals of bishops. 
Bishop William, 1261, uses the episcopal effigies of conventional 
character with a secretum counterseal in which, among other 
details, is the figure of an ecclesiastic, half-length, lifting up his 
hands in adoration, and set in a boat-shaped vessel seen from 
the prow, which I have conjectured to be in allusion to the 
incident of Canon Gilbert and Hugo, Cardinal of St. Angelo, 
papal legate, as narrated fully in Hutton's additions to Keith's 
Catalogue of Scottish Bishops, a manuscript (add. 8143, fol. 95) 
preserved in the British Museum. Bishop Alan de Sancto 
Edmundo, 1 289-1 292, introduces into his seal figures of St. 
Columba as a bishop with extended jurisdiction, and the X'irgin 


and the Child. Thomas Murray, who sat from 1348 to 1360, 
uses the episcopal figure, and adds lateral shields of arms bearing 
on the dexter side three mullets for Murray, on the sinister a 
lymphad within a royal tressure fiory counterflory, perhaps for 
his See, but called by Laing for his See of the Isles, while 
Burke blazons the arms of Caithness, a galley in full sail. 
Andrew Stuart, 1490-15 18, continues this design with sub- 
stitution of the arms of Stewart quartered with a lymphad for 
Caithness, and in fess point an annulet. There appear to have 
been two bishops of this name consecutively, 1490-1 5 18, and 
1 5 18-1542. This seal probably belongs to Andrew Stuart the 
First. Bishop Robert Stuart, 1542, Canon of Canterbury, and 
afterwards 6th Earl of Lennox, used a seal when " Bishop Elect 
and Confirmed," and a later seal as bishop with an accompanying 
motto, ILLUMIXA. His signet of arms bears also a coronet 
between the initial letters r . s . set between small flowers which 
perhaps allude to the well-known heraldic roses of Lennox. 
George Gladstanes, 1600- 1604, ^^^ John Abernethy, 162 2- 1638, 
use their respective armorial bearings on their seals, and Patrick 
Forbes, 1662-16S0, who reverted to the effigy of a mitred 
bishop in addition to his family arms, appears to have given 
offence in respect of the effigy, for the impression, of which there 


is a cast among the more recent acquisitions of the British 
Museum, has been purposely obHterated by the pressure of some 
one's thumb when it was just freshly made. 

The Chapter Seal, the -brass matrix of which appears to belong 
to the thirteenth century, is very beautiful. It is pointed oval 
in shape, measuring about three and a quarter inches long by 
two inches broad. The V'irgin Mary, half-length, with crown 
and nimbus, holding the Infant Saviour, who wears the 
cruciferous nimbus, Is shown within a trefoiled canopied niche. 
At her side are the heads of St. Columba as a bishop, and of St. 
David as a king. Above these, two angels issue from the arch, 
and stretch out their arms. These, also, have the nimbus of 
sanctity on their heads. Set above all, In three small niches, are 
the heads of three sainted bishops connected with the ancient 
history of the See. Below, also under a trefoiled arch, is a 
company of nine persons — perhaps a choir or chapter procession 
— each one vested in ecclesiastical or collegiate habiliments, and 
holding a book. 

The counterseal of this (If we may trust Lalng's statement 
that it Is the counterseal) shows the Annunciation of the Virgin 
Mary, with the archangel Gabriel holding the inscribed scroll, as 
before described. In a small niche above the group is seen the 


Holy Spirit, in the likeness of a dove, descending on the X'irgin. 
In the hexameter legend the Virgin describes the uses of the 
seal for her collegiate church — 

COLLEGIU[m] . CO[x]siGNO . MEu[m] . CATANe[n]sE . >L\RL\. 

It is curious that there is a silver matrix of late date at Trinity 
College, Glenalmond, Perthshire, which bears an imitation of 
this design rudely executed in flat relief, and provided with a 
repetition of the legend found on the Chapter Seal. 

The See of Dunblane supplies some bishops' seals of good 
design. The earlier examples give figures of bishops as usual. 
Those of Bishop William, about 1284 to 1293, and Bishop 
Robert de Prebenda, 1 258-1 282, show, among other details, 
representations of St. Laurence, with his accustomed emblem, 
and of St. Blaan, the patron saints of the See. There is also the 
seal of an uncertain fourteenth century Bishop Walter, which 
contains figures of St. Blaan and St. Laurence and a saint with 
book or wallet, with other emblems and shields of arms. The 
Chapter Seal, which probably belongs to the thirteenth century, 
in like manner reproduces a figure of St. Laurence, and refers 
to the two saints in the legend. 

Dunkeld contributes to our study, among other seals of 



bishops, a good seal attributed to Bishop Richard de Prebenda, 
12 lo (unless it be the secretuni of the chapter) bearing a 
half-length figure of St. Columba with crozier curved 
outwards, and pronouncing a blessing, and also a fine 
one of Bishop John, 1356- 1369, with figures of St. John 
the Baptist and St. Katharine ; and another of Bishop 
Nicholas, about 1402-1411, with the Virgin and Child, two 
bishops, and the Blessed Trinity. George Crichton, who 
occupied the See from 1527 to 1543, places on his seal a figure 
of St. Columba, with episcopal vestments, and a nimbus, lifting 
up the right hand in the act of pronouncing the benediction. In 
base he sets his shield of arms, bearing a lion rampant for 
Crichton. The brass matrices of the seal of the Chapter of 
Dunkeld are still extant, and indicate a fine design and beautiful 
execution. They measure nearly three inches in diameter. On 
the obverse, or principal side, we see a Gothic niche of three 
heads, surmounted by a canopy of handsome carved work. 
Therein is placed a shrine, or reliquary, perhaps indicating the 
form of one kept among the treasures of the church. On each 
side is an angel swinging a thurible and kneelino- on a shield of 
Royal Arms of Scotland. The base of the design consists of a 
row of three arches, containing as many figures of dignitaries of 


the Chapter, clad in ecclesiastical vestments, and elevating their 
hands in veneration of the sacred contents of the coffer or 
reliquary above them. The legend reads — 


The reverse has, with corresponding detail of treatment, the 
central figure of the patron saint, Columba, with mitre and 
pastoral staff, on a throne, and lifting up the right hand in the 
act of blessing. The inscription, s. columua, leaves no doubt 
as to the identity of the figure. The throne consists of the 
heads and legs of animals, and may be compared with that used 
by some of the earlier kings of France. At each side is a niche, 
with pointed arch, containing a half-length angel swinging a 
censer, and a shield of arms of Scotland. The lower part of 
this design is also provided with an arcade, where four columns 
give five niches, each containing a monk, one of whom holds the 
Book of the Columban Rule, one a staff, one a key, and two 
with books. The legend, as usual a rhyming hexameter, is a 
prayer to the patron — 


The Chapter of St. Giles, Edinburgh, gives us an interesting 


seal, attached to a document dated 1496, among Laing's 
impressions. Amongst other details it represents St. Giles, full- 
leng-th, with nimbus, book, and pastoral staff, pierced with an 
arrow, and accompanied by a hind leaping up at his feet. Three 
early bishops of Moray have left impressions of their seals. 
Bishop Bricius, about 1203 to 1222, uses an antique intaglio 
gem to seal his counterseal, on which is engraved The Goddess 
Fortune, holding Nike or Victory in her right hand and a shield 
in her left. Bishop Archibald, 1 293-1 298, reproduces the episcopal 
effigies. Bishop John de Pilmor, 1326- 1362, also uses an 
antique oval intaglio gem for his counterseal. The use of these 
gems, which is abundantly exhibited by seals in the middle ages, 
seems to indicate the love for antique precious stones by men of 
culture and position. They are found on the seals not only of 
ecclesiastics of high dignity, but on those of knightly rank and of 
noble lineage. It has been thought by some that these gems 
found their way to our shores after the intercourse with the East, 
stimulated by the Crusades ; others see in them the simple 
operation of the laws of supply and demand, and conjecture that 
they formed part of the stock-in-trade of the goldsmith and the 
jeweller, much in the same way as they do to-day. Set in gold 
or silver, and being practically indestructible, many fine examples 


of the gem ring have long survived their owners, whether 
laymen or ecclesiastics, to adorn our museums and antiquarian 
collections, and to show that the taste of the mediaeval cognoscente 
was by no means inferior to the modern antiquary. The subject 
engraved upon Bishop Pilmor's seal appears to be a crescent set 
on a column between two wheat-ears, and the legend which 
accompanies it is as follows — 


But both the design and the explanatory pentameter verse leave 
us in doubt as to its true signification. The design on the 
obverse of this seal interests us, being a representation of the 
Holy Trinity between four circular plaques, containing the 
customary emblems of the Four Evangelists, a concise depiction 
of the tenets of Christianity. The Holy Trinity reappears on 
many other seals of prelates of this See, in company with figures 
of bishops, the Virgin and Child, St. John the Evangelist, St. 
Mary ^Magdalene, Michael the Archangel in combat with Satan, 
or shields of arms. James Stuart, Bishop of Moray, has left the 
impression of a seal attached to a document dated 1459, where 
the shield of arms seems to be a compounded armorial bearing, 
referring not only to the family of Stuart, but to the See of 


Moray, which owes its foundation to King Malcohn III. 
Henry Hervey, an Archdeacon of Moray, had a seal, 
of which Laing had an impression, from a document dated 
1438, now in the British Museum, bearing the interesting 
design of St. Nicolas, Bishop of Myra, miraculously restoring to 
life three youths from a boiling cauldron into which their 
mutilated bodies had been cast. This legend was a very 
favourite one in the middle ages, and indeed the saint himself 
possessed a world-wide reputation as a miracle-worker, being 
especially venerated by sailors and those whose business took 
them to sea. His life and wondrous work form the theme of 
numerous stained glass windows, carved fonts, illuminated 
manuscripts, and other survivals of mediaeval times. 

St. Magnus of Orkney appears on the seals of some of the 
bishops of that See. Bishop Thomas of Tulloch reproduces the 
saint holding a sword, 142 2- 1446, and Bishop Andrew Honey- 
man, in the seventeenth century, also figured the saint. Both 
these are probably suggested to their respective users by the 
device given on the fourteenth century seal of the Chapter, the 
brass matrix of which is still extant. This, which measures in 
diameter two inches and three-quarters, gives a sectional view of 
the cathedral, an edifice of pleasing design and proportion, 



perhaps inspired by a Norwegian prototype, provided with a 
lofty central tower between two spires and side turrets. In the 
front are seen three trefoiled niches, with canopied heads, 
wherein are placed figures of the patron. Saint Magnus, standing 
on a bracket and holding a book and a sword, between two 
attendant monks, each kneeling on a small corbel. 

The See of Ross, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Boniface, 
shows us in the seal of Bishop Robert, at the close of the 
thirteenth century, figures of these two patrons. Bishop Robert, 
1 2 69- 1 2 70, uses the episcopal effigy, and on his counterseal 
places a bust of St. Boniface, with mitre and vestments, accom- 
panied by the inscription — 


A subsequent bishop, Alexander, about 1357 to 1370, reproduces 
figures of the Virgin and Child between Michael, the archangel, 
and St. Andrew, each with his customary emblem. There is also 
a somewhat similar seal attributed to Bishop Roger, about 1338. 
Bishop John Fraser, about 1485 to 1507, shows St. Peter with 
his key and patriarchal cross, and later seals do not call for any 
special remarks. 

Glasgow, as might be expected, contributes a very fine series 


of seals of bishops to our series. They run through all the 
phases of artistic delineation employed in this respect. The 
earliest show us full-length figures of the prelates, arranged 
in the proper vestments of their rank. Such is that of Bishop 
Joceline, 1 175-1 198, where he is pourtrayed with mitre and staff, 
lifting up his right hand in blessing. The counterseal, like other 
counterseals already noticed, is from the bishop's finger-ring, the 
impression of an antique oval intaglio gem bearing the well-known 
classical device of two birds on the rim of a vase or cup, from which 
they are drinking. The late Archbishop of Glasgow, JMonsignor 
Eyre, who has written on this series of Glasgow Seals in the 
"Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society," notices 
this seal with much interest. Florence, or Florentius, who was 
Bishop Elect, varied his attitude on the seal in accordance with 
established use, and represents himself as seated on a chair 
before a lectern, and holding a rod or staff. Bishop Walter, 
1207-1232, is shown partly turned to the right on his seal, and 
uses a counterseal in 1227, on which he appears as King William 
the Lion's chaplain, with appropriate legend. Bishop William 
de Bondington, his successor, 1232-1258, copied the design 
found on the obverse of his predecessor's seal, and adds a 
smaller counterseal, on which we may observe one of the 


earliest art representations of St. Kentigern, the patron of the 
See. The saint, with mitre and pastoral staff, with its crook 
turned outwards to symbolise extent of Christian rule and 
intluence, but without the nimbus, is standing- on a platform, 
blessing-, with upraised right hand, a bishop who is kneeling 
before him, with hands uplifted in veneration. The legend 
explains the scene — 


Bishop Robert Wyschard, or Wishart, 1271-1316, commences a 
new era of ornamental seals. For his first seal, employed in 
1292, his effigy, conceived in conventional style, is accompanied 
with a fish on the one side and a bird upon a branch on the 
other, in allusion to the well-known legend of St. Kentigern 's 
miraculous action in connection with these creatures. Arch- 
bishop Eyre considers that the central figure of the bishop is 
not that of the occupant of this See, but of St. Kentigern himself. 
On one impression the Bishop has used the gem ring seal of 
John the Physician, [oannes Mediciis, the design of which is a 
nymph standing and fastening her sandal, in front of a 
Priapus, a design not infrequently found in classical gems. 
The smaller seal, or counterseal, of Bishop Robert contains, 


within two Gothic niches, the figures of two saints : on the left 
St. Kentigern, on the right St. Laurence, with his customary 
emblem. In base is a figure of the bishop adoring his patron. 
In his second seal, of which an example has been preserved by 
Laing, from a document dated 1315, the allusions to the legend 
are more numerous, the cultus of the national saint having 
evidently become at this period more popular. The bishop, in 
the act of blessing, here stands upon a lion crouching under an 
elaborately decorated Gothic canopy, and carries the mitre, the 
embroidered vestments, and the ornamental crozier or pastoral 
staff. On his left is a bust adorned with the nimbus, below 
which is a bird ; on the right is another bust, below it a fish 
with a ring. The busts may be those of St. Kentigern and St. 
Laurence or St. David : the bird, the fish, and the ring relate to 
the history of ^St. Kentigern. This legend is depicted with 
great minuteness on the reverse, or counterseal, which shows a 
kind of section or erection of Gothic architecture in three stages, 
viz., a double niche in the highest part, two in the middle, and 
one in the base. The central figures are those of Queen Lan- 
guoreth of Cadzow and her consort, each crowned, the former 
holding a gem-ring, the latter his sword ; above is a monk 
presenting to St. Kentigern a fish holding a gem-ring in its 


mouth ; in base is Bishop Robert kneeling in adoration of the 
saint. The legend describes the tableau — 



" The king's enraged, the queen in tears, 
While the saint praj's the ring appears." 

For an account of this episode in the mythical history of 
Scotland the reader may consult MacGeorge's " Old Glasgow," 
p. 25, and the already mentioned treatise of Archbishop Eyre, 
who gives a somewhat different explanation of the event, and 
discusses the identity of the portraiture of the two busts. It is 
curious that there is another counterseal, from a different matrix, 
derived or imitated from the above, but the treatment of the 
details do not agree ; the architectural parts are not so elaborate, 
and the busts of the two saints, with the nimbus, have been 
omitted. But the descriptive legend is the same as in the 
previous example. This is preserved among the Doubleday 
Series of Seals, and appears to have been unknown to Laing 
and Archbishop Eyre. 

There is a curious seal of uncertain ownership, which may 
belong either to Bishop John Wishart, 13 18-1326, or Bishop 


John Lindsay, 1 326-1 335. It depicts St. Kentigern, in the 
vestments of a bishop, with his mitre and crozier, pronouncing a 
blessing, within an elaborate niche. In the base is the Bishop of 
the See, kneeling in veneration of the saint. On the carved 
tabernacle work, at the sides of the niche, are two shields of 
arms, those on the dexter side being the Royal Arms of 
Scotland ; those on the sinister side are indistinct. The legend 
refers the seal to a Bishop John. Archbishop Eyre attributes 
these to Bishop John Lindsay, 1322- 1325, against the authority 
of Keith, who records 1325 as the date of Lindsay's entry into 
the See. The archbishop describes the arms as dexter, a lion 
rampant debruised of a bend, for Abernethy, and sinister a bend. 
The connection of the Abernethy arms with the See at this 
period is not very clear, but the bend may be used in reference 
to the arms of the family of Lindsay, which rightly bear a fess 
chequy, and the arms of Abernethy are quartered by some 
members of this noble family. 

Bishop John Lindsay uses a seal, in 1333, where the emblems 
customarily connected with St. Kentigern are depicted in [)ro- 
pinquity to the usual figure of the bishop, and two shields of arms, 
one of which, bearing a bend, perhaps for the family of Lindsay, 
seems to connect the seal with the preceding example. 


In Bishop Walter Wardlaw's seal, which is found by Laing 
attached to a document dated 1371, a new method of illustration 
is adopted, the figure of the bishop being discarded and replaced 
by representations of Divine personages. In this case the 
bishop introduces a group of the Virgin and Child, with two 
bishops, one of whom is kneeling, the other standing. It may 
be that this is a presentation of the prelate by his diocesan 
patron and protector, St. Kentigern, to the notice of the Blessed 
Mother. Half-length figures of angels are placed in two side 
niches, and in base is a shield of the family arms of Wardlaw, on 
a fess, between three mascles, as many crosses crosslet. This 
is supported by two animals somewhat resembling lions. 

A subsequent bishop, William Lauder, 1408- 142 5, uses a 
seal which exhibits the elaboration which had come into fashion 
with the opening years of the fifteenth century. The principal 
group here, within a canopied Gothic niche, is a conventional 
representation of the Blessed Trinity, consisting of the Almighty 
Father with radiant nimbus, the Crucified Son, and the Holy 
Spirit proceeding from the mouth of the Father. This is one of 
the many ways employed by the artists of the middle ages to 
picture the mystery of the Trinity. The overhead canopy con- 
tained a figure which is too indistinct to be positively identified, 


but which has been thought to be the Divine Mother. At the 
sides, in niches, are two kneeling worshippers, and above these, 
in niches of less dimensions, are saints standing on brackets. 
The extremities of the sides of the design are filled with two 
shields of the Royal Arms of Scotland. In the base is a niche 
or doorway showing the Prelate of the See, with his mitre and 
pastoral staff, kneeling in adoration of the heavenly personages, 
between two shields of arms, of which that on the dexter side is 
missing ; that on the sinister bears a griffin segreant, the family 
arms of Lauder. 

Bishop John Cameron, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord 
Chancellor of Scotland, in 1428, has left an interesting seal 
attached to a deed dated 1439, wherein he reverts to the use of 
the effigy of St. Kentigern, adding thereto, upon a staff, a shield 
of arms bearing three bars for the Cameron family. Here also 
are set two fish embowed, each with a ring, in reference to the 
romantic legend with which the saint is associated. This seal, 
which is the " rotundum " or " round seal," may be probably 
that employed by the bishop for State rather than Ecclesiastical 
affairs. Andrew Muirhead, who occupied the See of Glasgow 
from 1454 to 1473, and Robert Blacader, 1484-1488, employ 
the symbolical figure of St. Kentigern, with his fish and his ring, 


and in company with shields of their respective arms ; but John 
Laing, who sat on the bishop's throne from 1473 to 1483 puts 
upon his seal three niches bearing representations of St. Kenti- 
gern, between Michael the Archangel and St. Katharine, with 
her wheel of martyrdom. Blacader, the last of the bishops and 
first of the archbishops, 1488- 1508, varied his seal but little on 
assumption of the archiepiscopacy, a fact notified by the change 
of legend to — 


Archbishop Gavin Dunbar, 1524-1547, employs the same 
allegory of St. Kentigern, with ring and fish, with a shield of 
the family arms of Dunbar, and the impression attached to a 
document, dated in 1536, is provided with a small secretum 
counterseal of arms, the shield having behind it a long cross for 
the archbishop, and below it a fish for St. Kentigern, the ring 
here being omitted. 

The illustrious James Beaton, 1 551-1603, uses a seal similar 
to the preceding in design, with an ornamental shield of arms, 
quarterly, of Beaton and Balfour in base. The impression 
preserved in the British Museum, a cast from an original found 
by Laing attached to the document dated 1566, has a counter- 


seal of a shield of these arms, surmounted by a cross, or arch- 
bishop's staff, and in base a fish and ring for St. Kentigern. 
The philosophic apophthegm or motto employed here in place of 
a legend is — 


James Boyd, Archbishop from 1573 to 1601 ; William 
Erskine, 1505-1587; Andrew Fairfowl, 1661-1663, and Alex- 
ander Cairncross, 1 684- 1 687, in turn present on their seals the 
undying legend with which the patron saint is ever associated, 
accompanied by shields of their respective arms. It may be, also, 
that the seal of Archbishop James Law, 161 5-1 632, with its 
ornamental tree, but without the saint, the fish, or the ring, 
nevertheless alludes to the See of Glasgow, the armorial bearings 
of which are thus blazoned : a tree with a bird on the topmost 
branch, in base a ringed fish, in the field a bell. The art of 
these latter seals is poor and jejune in comparison with the more 
elegant and pleasing conceptions of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries. Cairncross's motto — 


is characteristic of the period during which its owner occupied 
the See. 


The Chapter Seals of Glasgow present many interesting 
features. The earliest of the impressions which are extant was used 
about the year i i8o, and may even be somewhat earlier in point 
of execution. It is pointed oval, and measures about two inches 
and three-quarters long- by two inches wide. The design is an 
Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, with banner-Oag and pendants, 
usually employed as an emblem of St. John Baptist, but it is not 
clear why the emblem of that saint should have been employed 
on a Glasgow seal. In the base is a ring, symbolical of St. 
Kentigern, the patron saint, with a chain or twisted cord attached 
to it. It may be that the Agnus Dei represents the Province of 
York, and the chained or corded ring the subordination of 
Glasgow to that Primacy. The legend here is — - 


The second seal of the See, used from the latter part of the 
thirteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth century, as shown by 
extant examples attached to documents, and perhaps both earlier 
and later than the dates mentioned, illustrates the doctrine of 
transubstantiation on the one side, and the adoration of the 
patron on the other. In the former is a view of the cathedral 
church, with a central spire, and at each end of the gabled roof 


a cross. Overhead are a radiant sun and crescent moon, indi- 
cative either of the heavens or of the tutelary presence of the 
Sun of Righteousness and the Divine Mother. The lower part 
of the edifice is open to view the interior through three arches. 
In the central niche, or compartment, is an altar, and upon it a 
chalice. From above there issues a Divine rio-ht hand of bless- 
ing reaching down to touch the cup ; in the niche on the right is 
a priest reading at a lectern, in that on the left a priest in 
adoration of the sacrament. In the latter is a half-length figure 
of St. Kentigern, with mitre and vestments, giving a blessing ; 
below, under a canopy, a group of the members of the chapter, 
kneeling, with uplifted hands, in prayer or veneration of their 
protector. At the sides the inscription — Sanctus Kentegnus — is 
engraved, and the legend repeats the prayer of the suppliant 
dignitaries — 


Other seals relating to the chapter take their motifs from Kenti- 
gern's legend, and reproduce the effigy of the saint, the tree, and 
the bell, the bird and the fish, and the ring, with which he is 
associated in the annals of the earliest conversion of the 


One Chancellor John, who Nourished in the fourteenth 
century, introduces two eyes above a figure intended to represent 
himself kneeling to receive a blessing from his patron. Other 
members of the chapter are content with heraldic bearings, but 
John de Carrick, on a seal attached to a document dated in 1371, 
places on his seal St. John Baptist between St. Kentigern and 
St. Katharine, with the Virgin Mary and the Child above them, 
his own- figure between two lions sejant guardant addossed, a fish 
and ring, and a branch with a bird. Here again the presence of 
an effigy of St. John Baptist requires explanation. 

The seals of bishops of Argyle and Lismore are not numer- 
ous. That of Bishop Alan, 1250-62, recently acquired by the 
British Museum, bears on the obverse a fig-ure of the bishop, 
giving benediction and standing between two panels, in which 
are the heads of two patron saints, and there is a third head 
below. The pointed oval counterseal here is of much interest, 
it bears a sainted bishop, three-quarters length, under a carved 
arch with beautiful canopy of architectural detail, and in base, 
under an arch of three cusps, the bishop adoring his patron in the 
terms of the accompanying legend — 



That of Bishop Martin, 1352- 1362, which is of o-ood art, 
shows three figures, a bishop between two female saints, in a 
galley. An uncertain bishop of the fourteenth or fifteenth 
century introduces the Virgin and Child, a sainted bishop, 
probably the Patron of the See, St. Andrew with his saltire, the 
bishop himself adoring these figures, and a shield of arms 
bearing a unicorn sejant. The workmanship here has been 
attributed to a foreign hand, and the owner may have been 
provided by Rome at the time of the disastrous " chasm in the 
See" between 1362 and 1425. The unicorn sejant does not 
appear to have been used as an heraldic charge in Britain, but 
foreign armorials include this fabulous creature ; unless, indeed, 
it refers to one of the Royal Supporters of Scotland. 
Later seals are of no especial merit, either for design or 
workmanship. That of Arthur Ross, Bishop of Lismore 
(Argyle) 167 5- 1679, is remarkable for its motto — 


The chapter of this See has no less than four seals consecutively 
in use, each representing, in all likelihood, John, "the English- 
man," Bishop of Dunkeld, who originated the See, but their 
design calls for no special remark beyond pointing out the 


rudeness and quaintness of the work which was done by 
Scottish seal engravers in the sixteenth and seventeenth 

A few of the seals of the bishops of Candida Casa, or 
Whithorn, in Galloway, are extant.* There is the seal of 
Bishop Gilbert, 1235-1253, among the more recent acquisitions 
of the British Museum, which has some special interest : on the 
one side we see the figure of the bishop wearing the mitre, with 
a cross upon his breast, and a crozier in his left hand, standing 
on a corbel and lifting up his right hand in the act of pronouncing 
a blessing. The reverse has a beautiful counterseal impression 
of a small pointed oval ring of precious metal enriched with light 
wavy lines in the spaces at top and bottom between the letters 
of the legend and the gem itself, in which has been set an 
antique oval gem carved in intaglio of the early Christian period, 
probably about the first or second century after Christ. The 
design is that favourite one of the Agnus Dei, reguardant, 
wearing the nimbus, and holding a long cross after the classic 

* The See was appointed to be one of the suffragans of the Archbishopric of Glasgow 
by Bull of Pope Innocent VIIL, dated at St. Peter's, Rome, 9th January, 1491-2, according to 
Sir A. IL Durbar, Scoliish Kings, p. 215. 


conventional manner. This gem is a ja.^p or jaspis, which, 
according to the philosophy of the early middle ages, possessed 
the marvellous power of arresting any flow of blood, and its 
virtue is set forth in the legend of this counterseal in the hexa- 
meter verse — 


The second word is indicated by an arbitary sign -:- 

A successor of Gilbert, named Henry, 1 255-1 292, uses more 
elaborate workmanship in his seal. Here, too, we find the 
episcopal effigy, with vestments enriched with embroidery, lifting 
up his hand in blessing, and placed between the familiar accom- 
paniments of the crescent moon and wavy sun-star. The 
counterseal bears the figure of the owner, kneeling in veneration 
before a standing figure of the sainted bishop, Ninian, commonly 
called Ringan, founder of this See of Galloway, who is blessing 
the suppliant votary, over whose head is a cross. The bishop's 
prayer to the saint is couched in the rhyming Leonine hexameter 
verse which found favour w^ith prelates of Scotland in the 
middle ages — 

s[an]c[t]e . I"[re]cOR . DA . NE . TIBI . DISSPLICEAR . NINIANK. 

Dissplicear is apparently an error for displiceam. That 


of Thomas, who dated from about 1296 to 1304, is 
executed in a fine style of work. It is pointed oval, and 
measures about two inches and a half in height by upwards of 
one inch and a half in breadth. It bears a conventional 
representation of the bishop, with his mitre and pastoral staff, 
and wearing vestments, adorned with embroidery, lifting up his 
right hand to give a blessing, and standing on a pedestal 
beneath an ornamental canopy. His name at the beginning of 
the legend runs across the field of the seal — 


Bishop Thomas Spence, 1451-1458, shows the figure of a 
bishop or saint holding a fetter or manacle in the right hand, and 
at each side in a niche is a fetterlock for two feet. This alludes 
to St. Ninian and his miracles. 

Another bishop of this See, Henry Wemyss, a natural son of 
King James IV., 1 526-1 541, introduces into his seal the effigies of 
the Virgin Mary with the Child, Michael the archangel, and an 
uncertain bishop with heraldic bearings belonging to him, in the 
base. The legend indicates this prelate as bishop of Candida 
Casa and of Stirling. Bishop John Paterson, 1674-9, introduces 


a figure of St. Ninlan on a mount, in a shield of the arms of the 
See, and gives his motto as — 


The Prior and Chapter of Candida Casa employed, as already 
described, in the thirteenth century, a pointed oval seal, showing 
the elevation or view of the church, with an arch or crescent in 
the base. This priory was of the Premonstratensian Order, 
and dedicated to St. Ninian and St. Martin. The legend 
here' is — 


The bishops of the Isles, in like manner, have left but few 
seals for our notice. Two of the seventeenth century remain, 
with much the same dominant motif m their designs. That of 
Andrew Knox, 1606- 162 2, shows the prelate seated in an open 
boat, with book in his hand, passing over the waves ; below is a 
shield of his arms. That of Robert Wallace, 1 661 -1669, represents 
a galley or lymphad, in which is seated the bishop, who is being 
rowed over the sea by three or four mariners, his flag flying at 


the Stern of the boat. Over the bishop's head is set a shield of 
arms of the family, viz., quarterly, a lion rampant for Wallace, 
and a fess chequy for Stuart. 

The Episcopal Seals of Scotland are a fine series, and, in like 
manner as the Royal Seals, closely illustrate the rise, progress, 
culmination, and decadence of the seal art in that kingdom. 
Those of the eleventh and twelfth century show us simple 
figures of bishops standing, holding the pastoral staff, or crozier, 
and elevating the right hand in the act of bestowing a benediction 
on the fiock, or in some other simple and graceful attitude 
indicative of their sacerdotal functions, with a legend descriptive 
of name and title, or couched in a poetical or didactic utterance. 
The counterseals of this period sometimes appear to be derived 
from the ring-seal of the prelate, or to be the impression of an 
antique Roman intaglio gem-stone set in a rim of precious 
metal. The next century shows the bishop's seal advanced 
considerably along the lines of fine art. The elaborate corbel 
of carved work, the canopy of architectural details, gradually 
becoming more and more intricate, and replenished with tracery ; 
the emblems introduced at the sides, the ornamented back- 
grounds, and the enrichment of the vestments worn by the 
principal figure represented on the seal, all combine to exhibit 


the progress which not only the seal engravers' art, but many- 
cognate arts, were evincing in the century. 

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries show still further 
advancements, and the whole surface of the seal's face forms a 
picture of great beauty for its harmonious balance, its well-studied 
proportions, the easy pose of the central figure, the light fancy 
of the subordinate details, the heraldic shields and imagery, with 
its numerous allusions to See and Saint, to family, and to 
tradition. The culmination reached, we notice in the sixteenth 
century the insidious commencement of decline. Harmony of 
proportions becomes neglected, the want of balance manifested, 
carelessness of treatment in the details, which are introduced into 
the ensemble presented to the eye, and a falling-oft' of the 
consciousness on the part of the designer that he was 
master of his subject. Add to this, the change in men's 
minds on the subject of religion, and the widened basis 
from which all expression, artistic and pictorial, was to spring, 
led the way to wide divergence from the conventionalism of the 
preceding ages. It was now no longer imperative to follow the 
old lines, and, consequendy, the knowledge of how to represent 
things conventionally was giving way to the desire to indicate 
innovations. The dislike which arose at this time of repre- 


seating the human figure was also a factor which operated in 
many quarters, hence the seal becomes, very often, purely 
heraldic, or illustrative of some trite text, or scriptural event. 
The seals of the following century sink lower as works of art, 
and are practically worthless specimens of the skill of the 
designers, though, perhaps, as historical records they are not 
without their value. 

It is not improbable that the earliest seals of bishops demon- 
strate, to some extent, a Gallic influence in the same way that 
this same influence is seen on the English seals of a correspon- 
ding epoch. We know that the intercourse between France and 
Scotland was vigorously maintained up to the beginning of the 
latter half of the fifteenth century, and it could not but result 
that Scottish arts should reflect a certain degree of the pre- 
excellence to which the Continent had reached at the time. 
But later, the seals of the bishops appear to have been designed 
and executed by natives, with the result that French elegance 
gave way to the less polished, but perhaps more virile, treatment 
brought forward by indigenous exponents of art workmanship. 

Seals of capitular bodies are among some of the most notable 
of Scottish seals, both for their antiquity and importance. In 
this class no conventionalism has been observed ; a local 


tradition, a patron saint, an historical event, or a passing fancy 
suffice to mark the theme for the design on the seal. An 
appropriate inscription, not infrequently in rhyme, explains the 
allegory or rounds the moral set forth on the face of the seal. 
Among the many extant examples of this class, I may make 
mention of those of the following sees which possess beauty 
or interest of more than ordinary kind : — St. Andrews, Aberdeen, 
Caithness, Dunblane, Dunkeld, St. Giles of Edinburgh, Moray, 
Orkney, Ross, Glasgow, Lismore, and Candida Casa, otherwise 
known as Whithorn. 

The lower dignitaries of the Church are not so numerously 
represented among the seals as are the bishops, but a con- 
siderable number of examples remain, the art of which is quite 
equal to that shown on similar seals in England. The smallness 
of their dimensions, and less durable character, may well account 
for the lack of preservation of these very interesting classes, 
which exhibit a great range of style and free scope for the tastes 
of their respective owners. Among them, some belonging to 
the following sees may be mentioned as typical or prominent 
examples : — St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Brechin, Caithness, Dun- 
keld, Moray, and Glasgow. 


Seals of Monastic Orders, Monasteries, Religious 
Houses, Colleges, and Ecclesiastical Institutions. 

THE seals of monastic establishments in Scotland, as in 
England and other countries, do not follow any strict 
conventional pattern. Their form may be circular, or of 
the shape known as pointed oval, or vesical, a very beautiful 
geometrical figure produced by two segments of circles meeting 
at an acute angle, and resulting in a shuttle-shaped form arising 
from the combination of the two equal segments of circles with 
diameter of the same length. Some see in this figure a fanciful 
resemblance to a fish, which is the emblem attributed by the 
mystics and ecclesiologists to our Lord, because the initial letters 
of the five Greek words which, when translated, signify " Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour," may be written together 

to form one other Greek word, meaning a fish, i . x . e . t . 2 . ; 



in Latin characters, Ichthys. The designs found generally on 
seals of this class consist of representations of events in the life 
of our Lord, of the Divine personages, of saints, with or without 
their emblems, and emblems without their respective saints, of 
heraldic and armorial groups, and of a large variety of other 
appropriate conceptions. The Virgin Mary and the Divine 
Child, Jesus, with or without attendant angels, form a group 
which is perhaps more constant in its occurrence than any 
other ; and it is not unreasonable to expect this, as the Blessed 
Virgin stood in the relation of patroness to so many ecclesiastical 
foundations, as well in Scotland as in other Catholic countries. 
Not only does this design occur in many of the " Common 
Seals " of such institutions, but the principal officers who either 
held perpetual seals of office, or personal seals ceasing to be 
used after their voidance of the several dignities, employed the 
design in grateful recognition of their allegiance to their sainted 
protectress and patroness. 

It is to be regretted that many seals of the monasteries, which 
at one time or another replenished the fair realm of Scotland, 
have disappeared, as it were prey swallowed up in the universal 
ruin which overtook all these corporate bodies in the seventeenth 
century. Some few, indeed, probably secreted by careful hands 


at the time of the overthrow of their houses, have occasionally- 
been recovered, and some have been found among the debris of 
destroyed houses of religion ; but by far the larger number have 
been lost or destroyed, and thus many a beautiful work of art is 
now for ever lost to the antiquary and artist. Of those which 
remain, we will now take notice of the best examples, passing 
them in the order of alphabet, and noticing their principal 
features of interest. 

Aberdeen has preserved impressions of three seals relating to 
the Carmelite Priory in that town, which occupied the important 
position of being the Provincial House of the monks of the 
Order of Mount Carmel, in Scotland. One of these seals, 
attached to a document dated 141 1, bears a representation of the 
Resurrection of our Lord, set in a carved and canopied Gothic 
niche or tabernacle, enriched with seven pinnacles, a number not 
without significance of meaning. From the legend it is abun- 
dantly clear that the seal belonged to the Prior Provincial of the 
Order. A later common seal of the Carmelites of Aberdeen, 
made in the fifteenth century, bears the magical pentacle of 
Solomon (sometimes called " Solomon's Seal "), a star-like figure 
of five equi-angular points in outline, composed of as many lines 
of equal length united at their extremities, a symbol believed by 


the astrologers and soothsayers of the middle ages to be 
endowed with many virtues and cryptic potencies, and in this 
case having its powers enhanced by the addition of the letters 
M. A. R.I. A set between the points, in reference to the Virgin 
Mary. A third seal, attributed to use by the Chapter of this 
Order, bears the name of William of Moray — " Willelmus de 
Moravia" — and was attached to a deed dated in 1437. This 
bears, within a church-like building, and under a triple arch, a 
figure of our Lord on the Cross, while below, in two little niches, 
are set figures of the Virgin with the Child, and a saint, con- 
jectured to be St. Basil, the ancient propounder of the Rule of 
the Order. To these three may be here added a seal attached 
to a deed of the date of 1492, which shows a representation of 
St. Andrew, the apostle, and patron of the realm of Scotland, 
crucified upon the saltire cross perpetually associated with his 
martyrdom, and placed between a crescent moon and an estoile, 
or sun-star, symbols possibly indicative of the celestial or upper 
air of the empyrean firmament of heaven, or of the celestials 
who reign there, and between two conventional trees, or thistle- 
fiowers, emblematic of the Scottish nation. The legend here 
is — 



i.e., Sigillutn Commune Fratrum Carmelitarum Scocie, which 
sufficiently explains its import and use. A later Prior Provincial 
of the Order used a seal in 1544, of which the dominant motive 
is the Virgin Mary, crowned as queen of Heaven, and holding 
the Child. On her left is an ecclesiastic, or monk, kneeling in 
adoration ; and below is a shield of arms, charged with a mullet 
in chief, and the letters V.S. in base. The legend declares this 
to be the seal of the Provincial of the Carmelites of Scotland. 

There was also in the town of Aberdeen a House of the 
Preaching P^riars, or Dominicans, the seal of which appears to 
show that it was dedicated to St. John Baptist. This is 
a pointed-oval, or vesica-shaped, seal of bold dimensions, bearing 
a figure of the patron saint standing, wearing the nimbus, and 
holding his customary emblem, the /ignus Dei, or Lamb of God, 
upon a roundle or plaque. At each side of the figure is a small 
tree, which symbolises the " wilderness," usually associated with 
the saint in accordance with the New Testament narrative. An 
impression of this interesting seal is found on a document dated 
in 1 38 1, and the art it exhibits is customary with this date. 

The town of Aberdour, in Fifeshire, was the site of a nunnery 
of obscure history. It does not appear whether it belonged to 
the Franciscan or Claresse Nuns, but the legend, indistinct and 


imperfect as it is, seems to point to the Franciscans, while the 
central figure in the design maybe either that of the Virgin Mary, 
or of St. Clare, the eponymic patroness of the Order of Claresses. 
At Abernethy, in the counties of Fife and Perth, there was 
a collegiate house dedicated to St. Bridget, which possessed a 
common seal of considerable merit and numerous features of 
interest. This was circular in form, and on the obverse it bears 
a shield of arms, charged with a lion rampant, debruised by a 
bend, or ribbon, the armorial bearings of the family of Aber- 
nethy, which derives its name from the town. On the reverse 
we see a representation of St. Bridget, the patroness, wearing 
the nimbus of sanctity, and holding a pastoral staff, or crozier, 
with the crook turned outwards, significant of external jurisdic- 
tion as opposed to mere domestic or local influence, which would 
be indicated (theoretically, of course, and not always adhered to) 
by the curve of the staff being turned inwards towards the 
bearer. At the side of this saint of wide renown, celebrated for 
the reforms she introduced into the religious rules of the Church, 
stands a cow, her emblem. The legend is taken from Psalms 
liv. 15— 


** We took sweet counsel together : and walked in the House of 


God as friends^ This seal has formed the subject of some 
valuable remarks by Laing, Turnbull, and other antiquaries. 
The impression was attached to a deed of 1557, but the matrix is 
probably of the fifteenth century. William Schaw, one of its 
provosts, has left an example of his private and personal. heraldic 
seal, charged with the arms of Shaw, three covered cups, in 
chief a mullet. It is of the date above mentioned. 

Arbroath, in county Forfar, otherwise known in olden time 
as Aberbrothock, a Tyronian Abbey, dedicated to the world- 
renowned St. Thomas a Becket, the martyred Archbishop of 
Canterbury, is rich in seals of a fine character. The common 
seal used by the abbot and convent dates from the thirteenth 
century, and appears to have been made by the same hand which 
designed that of Middleton Abbey, in Dorsetshire, because the 
remarkable legend, which will be described further on, is 
identical in each case. In this seal of Arbroath we see, on the 
obverse, a spirited representation of the martyrdom of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury, the patron saint of the house, in the act 
of dramatic renown which took place as here shown at the steps 
before the high altar of Canterbury Cathedral, the grouping 
arranged, for artistic effect, under a trefoiled arch, resting on 
slender pillars, and furnished with a canopy composed of three 


small pinnacled turrets and four gable ends. The legend on the 
side of the seal reads — 


Southey's stirring ballad of the Inchcape Bell alludes to the Abbot 
of Aberbrothoc or Arbroath. The reverse of this very beautiful 
specimen of seal art is equally remarkable. Here is seen an 
arched shrine, or reliquary, with its richly-carved doors thrown 
open, furnished with scrolls of ornamental metal work, and 
covered by a canopy of turrets and gables in keeping with 
simiJar details of the obverse. Therein is a figure of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, seated, holding the Child, and in her right hand a 
beautifully-drawn sprig, or branch, of foliage with a wavy stem. 
This style of branch especially belongs to the thirteenth century. 
Over the head of the Divine Infant is the star of Bethlehem, the 
Lmx Mundi, or Sun of Righteousness, in the form of an estoile 
of six wavy points, or rays, a form of symbolism which was 
favoured by the Christian artists of the early middle ages as 
signifying light and beauty. The legend is very curious. It is 
a rhyming Leonine distich, and consists of an invocation to the 
Virgin, with a punning reference to Eve, whose name Eva is 


Ave, the first word of the salutation, written in reverse order of 
the letters, and to the woe, ve, of mortality inherited by all 
mortals as a consequence of the disobedience of our legendary 
first parents — 


an elaborately-constructed elegiac stanza, which may be trans- 
lated thus : 

" Hail, thou Gateway of Salvation ! 
Granting refuge from damnation. 
Though from Eve we trace our woe, 
Hail, for thou hast laid it low ! " 

The Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary of Middleton, in 
Dorsetshire, already mentioned, placed around its seal, which 
bears a view or representation of the Abbey Church in the 
thirteenth century, the same curious legend on the reverse side. 
This peculiar coincidence on seals * of monastic institutions, 
situate so far apart, seems to point, as has been said, to the 
supposing that the same engraver was employed upon the two 
seals, or that the Order of Benedictines possessed at the time a 


member who occupied himself with the task of writing these 
elaborate compositions. It is well known that in the middle 
ages monks and other ecclesiastics devoted their time of study- 
to the construction of ingenious tables of verses and similar 
matters, many of which still remain in books and manuscripts 
that once belonged to the religious houses which sheltered the 

One of the abbots of Arbroath who flourished at the close 
of the thirteenth century, has left us a very elegant seal, attached 
to a document bearing the date of 1286, now preserved among 
the Harley Charters of the British Museum. It shows the not 
uncommon design of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sitting with the 
Child, and attended with angels in adoration ; but it also bears 
the far less common design of the martyrdom of St. Thomas of 
Canterbury, the patron saint of the abbey, whose fame as a states- 
man and as a martyr had penetrated to the ends of the world. In 
the lower part of the seal is set an effigy of the abbot, kneeling 
in veneration to the saints above him. A long interval 
separates us from another interesting seal of the abbey. In 
1608 a document was issued, to which was attached the seal of 
John Hamilton, the last Comrrtendator, second son of the Duke 
of Chastelherault, and afterwards Marquess of Hamilton. l)y 


this time ecclesiastical emblems had been discarded. Opposing 
Church factions and prejudices rendered it imprudent for any 
one to place figures of Divine personages upon seals, and, as a 
last resort of art, heraldry afforded almost the only means of 
exercising artistic talent. The Commendator's seal bears the 
quartered arms of Hamilton and Arran, ensigned with a coronet, 
and set between two small branches of foliage. The spelling of 
the name of the monastery also had undergone a change. 
Here, in its later form, it is Arbroath ; in the previous seal of 
the thirteenth century it is Aberbrothoc. Two monks, of all 
the numerous throng who owned allegiance to St. Mary and St. 
Thomas of Arbroath, have left their seals on record. They are: 
Robert de Lambile, the thirteenth century brass matrix of 
whose seal was found in the ruins of the abbey, and is now 
preserved, it is said, in the Museum of the Society of Anti- 
quaries of Montrose, bearing a figure of a kneeling monk, with 
a sun of righteousness over his head ; the other, also of the 
thirteenth century, appertained to Brother W. Matthew% a brass 
matrix found at Arbroath, and now believed to be in the 
Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Here, 
under a canopy of triple arcades, \^e observe a figure of the patron 
martyr, the renowned Thomas of Canterbury, lifting up the 


right hand conventionally in the attitude of one pronouncing a 
benediction, between two kneeling angels, one of whom holds a 
censer and a palm branch, the other the quatrefoil flower of 
Divine love, and a palm branch ; in base, under a smaller 
canopy, is the figure of the monk, half-length, in profile to the 
left. The legend in this case leaves no doubt that the seal 
belonged to the above-mentioned monk, for the legend reads — 


The former seal is, to some extent, of doubtful identity, as the 
legend does not absolutely associate Robert de Lambile with 
the monastic profession. 

Ardchattan is an interesting convent. It was one of the 
very few in Scotland which owed allegiance and origin to the 
Convent of Vallis Caulium, or Val-des-Choux, the \'ale of 
Cabbages, or, as some imagine, the Vale of Owls, in the eastern 
central district of France, the "Rule" of which has been recently 
edited for the late Marquess of Bute, by the author of this book, 
who visited the remains of the mother house, and prepared 
collections for its history, the intended publication of which was 
frustrated by the ever-lamented death of that strenuous and 


noble antiquary. The conv^ent was, like others of the \'al-des- 
Choux order, dedicated to St. John Baptist. It was situate 
in the district of Lome, in Argyle, and there is not very much 
definitely known of its history. Keith, Turnbull, Gordon, 
Walcott, and other writers of the monastic antiquities of Scot- 
land, say very little of its fortunes and misfortunes. Beaulieu 
and Pluscardine were its fellow-subjects to the parent house in 
France, which, while being favoured in that kingdom and the 
vicinity of its establishment, succeeded only in maintaining these 
three houses in Scotland, and in England had no foothold at all. 
In the seal of this community we see the eftigies of the patron 
saint, holding, on a plaque, the Agnus Dei, with which he is ever 
to be associated. The legend declares this to be the seal of the 
convent — 


Although known by the fine impression attached to a deed, 
dated in 1564, the matrix of this seal is nearly three hundred 
years older in point of age. 

The town of Ayr contributes a curious seal of her Dominican 
Friars, as used by the prior of that house, an early fifteenth 
century seal, showing St. Katharine, the patroness of the priory, 


accompanied with her customary emblems, the wheel and sword, 
which mediaeval hagiography indissolubly connects with this 
virgin saint and martyr. Below, under an arch, is seen the 
prior, kneeling in adoration. 

The Cistercian Order found universal favour in Scotland : 
numerous and powerful abbeys flourished throughout the king- 
dom, and among them that of Balmerino or Balmerinach was 
one of pre-eminence. It was dedicated to St. ^lary the Mrgin, 
and St. Edward. We have still extant a fine impression of a 
very richly wrought seal of this house, on which is depicted, in 
a niche enriched with a canopy of Gothic architecture and open 
work at each side, a standing figure of the Blessed \ irgin, 
crowned queen of Heaven, with the Divine Child, and in base, 
below the principal subject, is set a shield of the Royal Arms of 
Scotland. We owe this seal to Laing's indefatigable research 
among the collections of original documents relating to Scotland. 
The legend indicates that it is the " Common Seal " — Sigillum 
Commune — of St. Mary of Balmerinach. The impression is 
attached to a deed dated in 1530, but the date of the making of 
this beautiful matrix is considerably older. In the thirteenth 
century the Abbot of " St Edward's in Scotland," which was 
another title of this abbey, used a seal, one impression of which 


Still remains, whereon is shown the abbot's figure, in monastic 
vestments, and holding a pastoral staff and a book of the 
Cistercian Rule, stands on a fluted platform or pedestal, accom- 
panied at the sides with a fleur-de-lis, and three estoiles. 

The Carmelites of Banff" used, in the fourteenth century, a 
seal charged with the design of the Annunciation of the Virgin. 
Beaulieu, akin to Ardchattan, in being one of the very few 
Scottish houses of the \'allis-Caulium order, used the design of 
the Virgin and Child, with a monk adoring them. At Berwick- 
on-Tweed the " ^Minister" of the Friars of the Holy Trinity, or 
Trinitarians of St. Mathurin, used a seal which is remarkable as 
embodying in some degree the peculiar dogmas of that order in 
a representative form. Here we see the Saviour, seated in 
judgment on the world, with both His hands uplifted, the feet 
set on a rainbow bearing an indistinct inscription. At the sides 
are human hands issuing, grasping the cross, and other conven- 
tional emblems of the Passion ; below these is the minister, or 
master, kneeling in veneration of the Divine Judge. Blantyre, 
an Austin Canons' Priory in Clydesdale, Lanark, possessed at 
the end of the sixteenth century a curious seal used by Walter 
Stuart, the Commendator of the House, and Lord Privy Seal. 
The design here, as is generally the case with seals of very late 


date, is heraldic, with a label inscribed with a text from Habak. 
iii. 1 8, somewhat imperfect, which appears to have been — 


when complete. The blending of the Biblical with the heraldic 
is quaint, and yet quite in harmony with the peculiar feelings of 
that age. 

Brechin IMaison Dieu, or Hospital, in Forfar county, shows 
us, in the seal of the Preceptor, William Carnegie, a figure of 
the Virgin Mary with the Child, standing on a crescent and 
surrounded by a radiance, a form usually employed to signify the 

Cambuskenneth, near Stirling, in county Clackmannan, 
possessed an important Abbey of Canons- Regular, dedicated to 
St. Mary. Laing preserves a valuable seal of the Abbey, 
showing the Virgin and the Child set beneath a carved Gothic 
canopy of finely-proportioned architecture, with a choir, or 
chapter, of six canons assembled in adoration of their patroness 
in the base, under an arch, representing their church. The 
name of the house is given in the legend as Kambuskinel. Two 
abbots of this monastery are known by their seals — John, in 
1292, and Patrick, in 1400. In each case this dignitary has 


selected a figure of his patroness as the most appropriate design 
for his seal. In later times, we find a "seal of the office of the 
officiality of the abbot of Kambuskyneth," which, like so many 
other ecclesiastical and monastic seals of Scotland, bears a figure 
of the Mrgin Mary and the Child, with the addition of an 
heraldic design. Candida Casa, otherwise known as Whithern 
or Whithorn, a monastery of the Premonstratensian Order, 
dedicated to St. Ninian and St. Martin, in the southern parts of 
Wigtownshire, the ancient Galloway, or Galwidia, is represented 
by an early pointed-oval seal, on which is depicted a view of the 
church belonging to the priory. It is, however, difficult to 
determine whether this, like other representations of Religious 
Houses and Churches, is a correct delineation of the particular 
building to which it belongs, or is a merely conventional 
representation of an imaginary edifice. The legend here 
declares that the seal is that of the prior and chapter. Mention 
has already been made of the few seals of the bishops of the 
diocese of Whithorn, the extent of which is perhaps coincident 
with the shire, but there are not many records which throw 
light on the point. The records of the Province of York, and 
principally the archbishops' registers, throw some light upon the 
mediaeval history of the bishops and priory of Whithorn, and it 


appears that for some time at least there was a close bond of 
union between Whithorn and York. 

Coldingham, in Berwickshire, is a Benedictine Nunnery of 
much interest. It was dedicated to St. Cuthbert, one of the 
most notable of the northern British saints. Its common seals 
show the Virgin and Child. Several seals of the priory are 
extant. In an early one is a figure of the prior seated on a 
chair, and reading a book at a lectern. This is of the late 
twelfth century. In two of the later seals St. Cuthbert's effigy 
is introduced in addition to the usual figures of the Virgin and 
Child. One of these, of the end of the fourteenth or beginning 
of the fifteenth century, attributed by some to John de Aclif, 
prior in 1391, puts into the mouth of the suppliant monk, who 
is kneeling under an arch and adoring the saint, the rhyming 
legend or prayer — 


Robert Blacader, Prior of Coldingham, Commendator, and 
Apostolic Prothonotary, used in 15 19 a fine seal bearing the 
Virgin and Child, a shield of the family arms, and other 
emblems, set on a crozier between two sprigs of foliage. Cold- 
stream, a nunnery of the Order of Citeaux in county Berwick, 


varies the style of monastic seals by using the design of a 
salmon, hauriant in pale, with a hook in its mouth. This is 
placed between two quatrefoils, with a crescent enclosing an estoile 
and a wheel. These emblems probably refer to the stream or to 
the patron saint. Crosraguel, that is, Crux Regalis or Cross Royal, 
an abbey of the Cluniac order in Carrick, the southernmost of 
the three divisions of Ayrshire, possessed several seals, which 
have also figured in the " Charters of the Abbey of Crosraguel," 
one of the many valuable monographs dealing with Scottish 
monastic institutions. The principal seal shows the Virgin 
Mary seated on a throne, and holding the Child. Overhead is 
an architectural canopy set on delicate columns. Under an arch 
of five cusps in base we see a group of monks, turned to the 
right, adoring the Divine personages. 

The Cistercian abbey of Culros in Perthshire uses the usual 
design on the common seal, but in its counterseal, that is of the 
thirteenth or fourteenth century, there is an unusual device, 
sometimes occurring in English monastic counterseals, namely, 
a hand, lying fesswise and grasping the crozier of an abbot. 
This is combined with the crescent moon and wavy-pointed sun- 
star, the significance of which emblems has been already 
explained. Another Cistercian abbey, that of Cupar in Angus, 


counties of Perth and Forfar, repeats the use of the effigy of the 
Virgin JNIary with the Child, a favourite device of the Cistercian 
Order. Here the Infant Saviour grasps a branch of Hlies (His 
Mother's plant, symbol of unsullied purity) in the right hand, an 
elegant design, eloquently speaking to those who can interpret 
aright the symbolism of the middle ages. Beneath the group, 
and under an arch, which stands for the abbey itself — in obedi- 
ence to that canon of art which allows a part to signify the 
whole — the abbot with his staff, kneeling in veneration, and 
placed between two shields of arms. No less than three seals 
of this type, of varying dates, are extant, and they bear witness 
to the universal approval of the design. It is curious that on 
the counterseal of one of the abbots of Cupar, at the end of the 
thirteenth century, there is found the same design as that already 
described as in use at Culros, the hand holding a crozier, but 
here the places of the crescent and star have been taken by two 
fleurs-de-lis. So late as 1532, the abbot used the effigies of the 
Virgin Mary and Child, with a shield of his family arms upon a 

Another Cistercian abbey. Deer, situate in the district of 
Buchan, county Aberdeen, famous for the " Book of Deer," 
one of the oldest records of Scottish history, abandons the 


representation of the Divine Mother and Child in favour of 
figures of the abbots. Of Dryburgh, an abbey of the Premon- 
stratensian Order, dedicated to the X'irgin, in Teviotdale, county 
Berwick, numerous seals are known. The designs are the hand 
holding a crozier, the Virgin and Child, and the abbot with crozier 
of authority and open book of the Rule of the Order ; and in late 
instances, heraldry replaces the rejected hagiography of earlier 
centuries. The seal of Abbot John, which occurs on a document 
dated in 1404, among Laing's invaluable series of Scottish seals, 
represents the Holy Family ; in a gothic canopied niche, with 
elaborate carved work at the sides, are figures of the X'irgin 
with the Child, and St. John Baptist, accompanied with the 
Agnus Dei, his usual emblem, and the palm branch of 
martyrdom, with the abbot in base under an arch, kneeling in 
adoration of the group. 

The Franciscan Minorite Friars of Dumfries employed in 
the seal of the house a figure of the patron, St. Francis, 
holding up what appears to be a crucifix, somewhat indistinct on 
the impression attached to a deed of 1490. St. Francis also 
finds a place on the seal of the Franciscans, or Grey Friars, of 
Dundee, county Forfar; this, too, is dated 1490. In each case a 
friar is shown adoring his patron saint. The seal of the 


Provostry of the Chapter of Dunbar reproduces the effigy of a 
female saint carrying 2i flagellum and book, accompanied by two 
shields of arms, one bearing a lion rampant within a bordure 
charged with eight roses, the other being the family arms of George 
Dunbar, Earl of March, the founder of the house. Dundraynan 
or Dundrennan, a Cistercian abbey in Galloway, employed on 
its counterseal, of which a good example has been preserved 
showing that it was made in the fourteenth century, the type, 
already described as in use with other monasteries, of the hand 
holding an abbot's crozier or staff, and placed between the sun- 
star and crescent moon, with which our readers are already 
familiar. The abbot's seal shows the effigy of that dignitary, 
standing on a corbel, with his crozier of authority and book of 
Rule, between two cinquefoil flowers. The glorious Abbey of 
Dunfermline, in Fifeshire, a Benedictine House dedicated to the 
Holy Trinity and St. Margaret, made use of a very early seal, 
about the year 1200. The design is peculiarly interesting. It 
comprises a view or elevation of a more or less conventional 
character, intended to represent the church or some prominent 
part of the monastery, but with a chalice set on a plinth, within 
a large opening enriched with an arched canopy. Above it is 
the Divine Hand of Blessing, from which issue streams of rays 


signifying a transmission of spiritual benediction into the cup. 
By this beautiful yet simple symbolical design, we are to read 
four things : the Benediction or Blessedness of the Benedictine 
Order, the Hand of the Father, the Cup of the Blood of the Son, 
and the Irradiation of the Holy Spirit, which three latter types 
combine to emblematise the Holy Trinity of the Dedication. 
The legend — Sigillum Sancte Trinitatis — leaves no doubt as 
to the pictorial significance of the seal. The later seal of the 
Chapter of Dunfermline is not inferior in point of interest. The 
matrix of this is still extant, and appears to date from the 
fourteenth century. Its large size (two inches and three 
quarters in diameter), and its excellent state of preservation, 
combined with the wealth of its design and the curious nature of 
the legend on the reverse, render this one of the most remark- 
able among the monastic seals of Scotland. On the obverse is 
a representation of the church shown by a kind of section 
through its axis, which enables us to see the altar with a chalice 
upon it, and a priest and acolyte before it. Behind these figures 
stands St. Margaret, the Queen and Patroness, reading at a 
lectern, and attended by a monk, also reading at a second lectern. 
Above, over the roof of the church, which is furnished with a 
central tower or lantern, are two birds, the sun-star and 


crescent moon. The design of the reverse consists of four 
angels — meaning the Evangelists or the Gospels — holding up 
within the mystical vesica or pointed-oval entablature the 
Saviour-Judge seated, on the Judgment Day, upon a rainbow, 
with the open Book, the nimbus marked with the Cross of 
Redemption on His head, the uplifted hand of blessing or 
cursing, and other attributes between the Sun-Star of Righteous- 
ness, the Crescent Moon for the Virgin Mary, the quatrefoil 
flower of Divine Love, and the cinquefoil of the five wounds — the 
price of Redemption. The background is filled up with sprigs 
of trefoiled foliage, an emblem perhaps indicative of the Trinity, 
which we have seen employed on the national seal used by 
King Edward I. for Scotland at the close of the thirteenth 
century. It may be that this side of the seal is not the work 
of the same artist who designed or executed the obverse. Here 
again we meet with one of those curious rhyming legends, 
written in Leonine verse, which have already attracted us. It 
consists of an elegiac distich — 

DICEt[vr] . REp[ro]bIS . ITE . VENITE . r[KO]l!IS. 

Some of the words are contracted, and the arbitrary sign -^ 


Stands for est. This, when properly punctuated, is to be read 
as — 


which may be thus rendered into English — 

Brief is the voice of Death or of Life : or " Go " or " Come " shall be uttered. 
" Come " shall be said to the worthy, and " Go " to the bad shall be muttered. 

Abbot Ralph in 1292 used a seal in which the dominant motive 
is a figure of the Almighty, wearing, by some curious fancy of 
the designer, the cruciferous nimbus usually given to the Son, 
and supporting a figure of Christ on the cross. The subordinate 
accompaniments are a sun-star and a crescent enclosing a pellet 
or roundle. The abbot himself kneels below and worships the 
figure, under an arch inscribed Ecclesia Christi. 

The Collegiate Church of Dunglas in East Lothian is known to 
have used as late as 1604 a figure of the Virgin Patron and Child. 

Edinburgh gives us many seals. St. Katharine of 
Siena appears on the seals of the Convent of St. Katherine. 
She holds a crucifix and a human heart, at her feet lies Satan 
vanquished. Holyrood, or St. Cross, Austin Abbey, has a very 
early but pleasing representation of a church of cruciform plan 


with a domed central tower. This seal was used in 1 141. A 
thirteenth century seal shows the Lord on the Cross between the 
Divine Mother and St. John the Evangelist. On another seal, 
used about 1550, but probably of earlier date, is shown our Lord 
crucified between the sun and the moon, over his head the 
tetragram I. N.R.I, on a scroll. This design is set between two 
side niches containing the Virgin Mary and St. Mary Magdalene. 
Below in a niche is the Virgin with the Child on a shield of 
Royal Arms of Scotland, supported by a crozier on the dexter, 
and a stag contourne having the Holy Rood between its attires 
on the sinister side, each supporter being as it were ensigned 
with slipped thistles. There are other seals of the abbey with 
interesting details. That of Abbot John, which occurs on a 
document dated 137 1, represents the Coronation of the Virgin, 
the Lord crucified between the Virgin and St. John, and the 
abbot adoring the celestial personages. The College of Holy 
Trinity, Edinburgh, appropriately reproduces conventional 
representations of the Trinity, one of which is accompanied with 
the inscription — 


The Dominican or Preaching Friars, and the allied Convent 



" de Castro Puellarum," use the device of the Coronation of the 
Virgin. In the former case the prior's seal has a variation of 
the design in so far that the coronation is effected by an angel 
in the presence of the Father ; in the latter the Father Himself 
places the crown on the head of the Virgin. The Cistercians of 
Elcho, in Perthshire, and the Premonstratensians of Feme, in 
counties Ross and Cromarty, use the design of the Virgin and 
Child. The Preaching Friars of Glasgow have the figure of a 
saint with nimbus, palm branch, and chalice containing three 
ears of corn. St. Nicholas Hospital in this city gives us a small 
seal of rude work, showing the patron saint performing the 
miracle of restoring three youths to life, a very favourite motive 
in the legendary art connected with this saint. Glen Luce, 
called Vallis Lucis, a Cistercian abbey in Wigtownshire, used a 
seal with the design of a Gothic, church containing the \ irgin 
and Child with attendant angels, and a shield of the arms of 
Galloway, a lion rampant crowned. The Cistercians of 
Haddington adhere to the usual design of the order, the figure 
of the Virgin and Child. Holywood, a Premonstratensian 
abbey in Dumfriesshire, depicts, by way of a rebys, an 
ornamental and symmetrical oak tree in fruit, with a bird 
perched on a branch thereof, and between two wavy estoiles. 


In an abbot's seal the same tree appears, in combination with a 
dexter hand issuing from the heavens, and grasping a crozier. 
A somewhat later abbot's seal shows the abbot himself holding 
in the right hand the tree with the bird thereon, in the left a 
crozier ; all between the now familiar adjuncts of star and 
crescent. Icolmkill, also known as Hy and lona, a celebrated 
Cluniac abbey, dedicated to St. Columba, in Argyllshire, one 
of the most interesting and romantic spots in Scotland, had a 
seal of the thirteenth century, on which was represented the 
patron saint worshipped by two Cluniac monks. Inchaffrey, 
the Island of Masses, Insula Missarum, an Austin Abbey 
dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, and St. John the evangelist, 
in Strathearn, Perthshire, has left us still its original brass 
matrix, which presents one of the most beautiful designs of this 
series of monastic seals. On the one side we have the eagle 
emblem of the evangelist, with nimbus on its head, and in its 
claw a scroll bearing the inscription of part of the first verse of 
the Gospel : "In the beginning was the word." 


All this is set within a cusped border, and in the field or back- 
ground are two vine leaves, four cinquefoils, and five quatre- 


foils, all with emblematic significations, which " speak to those," 
as Pindar sings, "who understand." The reverse of this seal, 
which is of considerable dimensions, being nearly two inches and 
three quarters in diameter, contains a representation, conven- 
tional for the most part, of a monastic church with central and 
side towers, and having a large arched opening in the midst, 
wherein is placed a standing effigy of St. John the patron saint, 
with nimbus of sanctity, palm-branch of martyrdom, and book of 
Gospel to indicate his evangelistic mission. This seal was 
reproduced in a somewhat less elaborate style at a later period. 
The fourteenth century seal of the abbot shows a good style of 
art in its representations of the patron saint and a bishop, the 
Virgin and Child, and the abbot adoring them. There is also a 
curious amber matrix described by Laing as having been found 
in St. John's Churchyard, Perth, bearing an eagle displayed, 
with accompanying legend declaring that it belongs to Alan, 
a canon of Inchaffrey, whose date is placed between 1250 and 
1270. Another Austin abbey of renown is that of Inchcolm, 
Insula Sancti Columba^, or Insula AimoucL, in county Fife, the 
seal of which shows a conventional church with many fine 
details, and its counterseal gives a galley on the sea, a design 
repeated on the abbot's thirteenth century seal, with the addition 


of a yard and furled sail to the mast and two figures in the ship. 
A third Austin House of Canons is that of Inchmahome, also 
called Insula Sancti Colmoci or Inchmaquhomok, in Menteith, 
Perthshire. Here is depicted, on the common seal, the \ irgin 
Mary as queen of heaven, crowned, holding a sceptre and the 
Child, and below, beneath an arch, St. Colmoc, the patron saint, 
vested as a bishop. The matrix of this seal appears to belong 
to the fourteenth century. In the British Museum is preserved 
a brass matrix, apparently a recent copy, badly executed, of this 
elegant design. 

The Inverness Dominicans or Preaching Friars possessed a 
good seal, on which was engraved a representation of St. 
Bartholomew the Apostle, standing on a platform, and holding 
his customary emblem, the knife of his cruel martyrdom. It is 
known by an impression attached to a document dated in 1436. 

Jedburgh, or Jeddeworth, in Roxburghshire, employed a very 
beautiful seal for the purposes of its chapter. The diameter is 
three inches, and it dates from the fourteenth century. The 
subject depicted is the favourite one of the " Coronation of the 
Virgin " in a canopied niche, accompanied with several 
subordinate emblems. The reverse of this gives the scene of 
the "Salutation of the Mrgin," between four saints or angels, 


and in the field are two wavy trees of conventional form. As 
the trees occur on the obverse, it is clear that they allude in 
some way to circumstances attending the foundation or 
environment of the monastery. It is to be much regretted that 
the legend around the design, which was a rhyming Leonine 
hexameter verse, is so imperfectly preserved in the impression 
acquired from Laing's collections by the British Museum 
that it cannot be read satisfactorily. Among several seals 
of this house, a few may be mentioned here. Abbot John 
in 1532 used a seal on which is engraved the rare subject of the 
" Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt." Andrew Home, 
Commendator of this abbey in 1561, combines with the figures 
of the Virgin and Child the armorial bearings of his lineage. 
There are two seals from distinctly different matrices attributed 
to this dignitary ; one, however, is a copy with variant details of 
the other. 

Kelso, or Calchou, has left us many good seals. This was a 
Tyronensian or Cistercian house of great repute, dedicated to 
St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist, in Teviotdale, Roxburgh- 
shire. Some of its seals have, like those of other Scottish 
religious houses, been figured in monographs and editions of 
chartularies and registers for the learned and literary societies of 


Scotland. The first seal bears the Virgin and Child, and was a 
fine example of twelfth century Scottish seal art, now 
unfortunately only known by an imperfect impression among 
the charters which formerly belonged to Lord Frederick 
Campbell, and now deposited among the manuscripts in 
the British Museum. A cast from a better impression 
of this early seal shows that the standard of excellence for 
Scottish seals had become very high in the twelfth century. 
The second seal, which occurs attached to a document dated 
1330, also represents the Virgm and Child, in a canopied niche 
adorned with fine architectural details, and on its reverse are 
three carved niches containing effigies of a saint between two 
monks holding long candles on tripod stands. The national 
emblem, a thistle, is introduced into the lower part of the design, 
and overhead are the sun-star and crescent, of which some 
account has been given before. Yet a third common seal of 
this monastery, apparently belonging to the fourteenth century, 
perpetuates the favourite design for Cistercian seals. Here we 
observe the Virgin Mary, crowned, standing in an elaborately- 
detailed niche with buttresses and crocketted canopy, and hold- 
ing on her arm the Divine Infant, who has a ball in the right 
hand. In the background are two rose-trees in llower, the 


rose, like the lily, symbolising the purity and sweetness of the 
mother, who is the " Rosa JMunda ?ion Rosa Jllundi " of mediaeval 
lore. The reverse of this very beautiful seal contains a figure 
of the second patron, St. John the Evangelist, standing on an 
eagle, and holding the silently eloquent emblems of a scroll and 
palm branch. The legend, from the opening sentence of his 
Gospel, explains the design — 


In the sixteenth century a poor copy of this seal appears to 
have been made in commemoration of the fact that the Cardinal 
de Guise held the Commendatorship of Kelso by appointment 
from ]\Iary of Lorraine, the Queen Dowager of Scots, after 
1542. Into the field of the seal, the brass matrix of which is 
preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, the initial 
letters C (reversed) and G have been introduced. A still later 
copy is extant in the form of a brass matrix, formerly belonging 
to a Mrs. Lawrence, found in Carmarthenshire ; it is known by 
a plaster cast among the seal impressions in the Department of 
Manuscripts in the British Museum. The official seal of the 
Abbot of Kelso, which is contained among Laing's collections, 


by him found appended to a document dated 1292, shows a figure 
of the Virgin with the Child at her breast, set in a canopied 
niche and attended by two angels swinging thuribles. The arch 
below is inscribed for the Abbot of Calchov, and represents this 
dignitary, with his mitre and crozier, kneeling before an altar 
on which is placed a chalice. Behind the celebrant abbot is a 
divine " hand of blessing," pointing upwards. The legend 
embodies the prayer of the abbot to the Virgin, and takes the 
form, with which we are now familiar, from its use in previous 
instances, of a rhyming Leonine hexameter — 


A good example of mediaeval Latin, not quite correct gram- 
matically, but full of pious sentiment. This seal was copied, 
about 1404, by Patrick, the then abbot, who omitted the crozier 
and the hand of blessing and replaced them with three estoiles. 

The scene of the Virgin giving her breast to the Son, which 
is not uncommon among seal artists, occurs in another seal 
among the collections of the British Museum, with the 
appropriate verse in rhyming pentameter, "Lactans Virgo Deum 
protege sancta reum." — a sentiment which may be compared 
appropriately with that on the seal of the abbot of Kelso. The 


last seal which we take notice of in respect of this abbey is that 
of James Stuart, a natural son of King James V., who held the 
appointment of Commendator of Kelso and jMelrose. Here, 
within a niche of late architectural design, as was the taste of the 
middle of the sixteenth century, to which date this seal belongs, 
when Gothic art had fallen vanquished before the hollow allure- 
ments of the Palladian, pseudo- Italian, or so-called Renaissance 
style, is represented, by some strange error on the part of the 
engraver, in place of the representation of St. John the Evange- 
list or his emblems, an effigy of St. John Baptist with the Lamb 
of God. This can only be accounted for by supposing that some 
confusion must have existed between the Evangelist and the 
Baptist in the mind of the designer. 

Kilwinning, dedicated to the Virgin and to the eponymic 
patron St. Winnin, in the Cunningham or northern district of 
Ayrshire, a Tyronensian house, represents on its seal its two 
protecting saints. The slipped trefoils with which the obverse 
is ornamented have a national signification even more ancient 
than the thistle-emblem for Scotland ; and the figure of St. 
Winnin, the abbot, with his crozier and Book of Rule, is probably 
unique in Scottish art. 

The Cistercian Abbey of Kinloss, or Kilfios, which also 


bears the attractive appellation of " Cella Florum " after the 
fashion of Cistercian nomenclature that preferred descriptive 
names to those of mere locality, was dedicated, as is usual in this 
Order, to the Virgin Mary. The design of this seal is that of 
the adoration of the Child by the three Magi, attended by an 
angel, half length, swinging a censer over the group. Late as 
it is in point of use, its origin must be conceded to an older 
century. Several seals of the abbots are extant, and in most of 
them the Virgin and Child are the dominant characteristics. 
Leith Preceptory, in Mid Lothian, a hospital of Canons of St. 
Anthony of Vienne, possessed an interesting seal, found in use 
during the early years of the sixteenth century, on which was a 
representation of the patron saint, accompanied with his customary 
emblems — a book, a cross tau (that is, a cross of T-shape without 
the upper part of the vertical beam), and a pig. The Depart- 
ment of Mediaeval Antiquities in the British Museum possesses 
a brass matrix, apparently of the thirteenth century, about two- 
and-a-half by one-and-a-half inches in dimensions, the device on 
which is an ornamental niche with carved supports and T-cross 
in the semi-circular pediment or tympanum. In this niche is 
enshrined a figure of St. Anthony, with the concomitant nimbus 
of sanctity, and carrying a book and a cross tau. He is accom- 


panied with a pig, with a bell fastened round its neck. There is 
lloral decoration at the sides and base of the design, and the 
legend declares that this is the Common Seal of St. Anthony's 
Preceptory near " Leicht." Lincluden Nunnery, in Dumfriesshire, 
subsequently converted into a Provostry or Collegiate Church, 
uses the design of the Virgin Mary on the seal of its provost in 
1463. The same design is found on the Common Seal of the 
Carmelite Friars of Linlithgow. In this last-mentioned town 
was a leper-house, dedicated to St. Michael, the seal of which 
exhibits a representation of the archangel piercing with his spear 
a prostrate Satan, and holding a shield of the Royal Arms of the 
kings of Scotland. Though this is a very late seal in point of 
workmanship, it preserves the national taste for rhyming verse, 
and its legend propounds the following wish— 


The reverse of the seal of the burgh bears the same design. 

Lindores, or Lundores, a Tironensian Abbey of St. Mary and 
St. Andrew, in Fifeshire, gives us several fine seals. On the 
earliest is the Virgin with the Child, and holding a model church 
and flowering branch. On a later seal is the Virgin with the 
Child, adored by an abbot with crozier, and scroll inscribed with 


the first two words of the invocation to the Virgin issuing from 
his lips ; while on the right a group of four monks stretch forth 
their hands and chant from another scroll the opening words of 
the hymn, " Salve Sancta Parens." The reverse of this finely- 
designed seal is even more interesting than the obverse. It 
shows us the scene of the martyrdom of St. Andrew, who is 
being fastened to a saltire cross by a man upon a ladder on the 
right, tying the left hand of the martyr with a cord. On the 
left hand side is a group of seven monks and others listening to 
the teaching of the apostle, who, according to a tradition, hung 
for two days on the cross before his death, during which period 
he exhorted the bystanders to adopt the Christian faith. The 
star and crescent motive enters into the subordinate design of 
this seal. Here we find a crescent and five estoiles, to which are 
added other two stars outside the cross, and in base a suppliant 
ecclesiastic between a sun-star and a crescent moon. The 
legend explains the picture — 


This creation, attributed to the fourteenth century, probably 
owed the inspiration of its designer to Abbot Thomas's seal. 


which occurs about 1270, where, in three upper niches, are 
figures of the Virgin Mary and two angels ; in the centre, four 
executioners binding the martyr to his cross ; and in base, the 
abbot venerating his patron under a gothic arch. 

The seal of the Cistercian Nunnery of St. Mary of ^lanuell, 
in Muiravonside Parish, near Linlithgow, contains a repre- 
sentation of the Virgin and Child. That of the celebrated 
Melrose Abbey, in Teviotdale, also shows St. Mary, with the 
Child wearing a nimbus, between accompanying half-length 
figures of St. Peter and St. Paul ; and in base, the effigies of 
an abbot with his crozier, and kneeling in adoration, who, from 
the initial letter W near him, has been conjectured to be St. 
Waltheus the Abbot. In two smaller seals of the abbey, the arm 
and hand holding a crozier, with which our readers are already 
familiar, occurs; one is a counter seal of 1292, the other, the 
sigillum mimis of the abbot, of the thirteenth century. The 
Dominicans of Montrose, in Forfarshire ; the Austin Canons of 
Monymusk, in Garioch, county Aberdeen ; and the Cistercians of 
Newbattle, in Mid Lothian, all use the transcendant design of the 
Virgin and Child, emblem alike of the esoteric purity of their 
faith, and intrinsic simplicity of their private life and manners. 
The reverse of the seal of Monymusk carries a representation 


of the church, or monastery, which is of cruciform plan with 
a central turret or lantern seen in perspective. The seal of the 
Abbots of Newbattle are of no especial interest, but the 
secretum and the counterseal of the abbey have the arm and 
hand holding a crozier, which, as we have seen in examples 
already described, was a favourite design, and probably 
indicative of the Divine authority held by the head of the 
institution which uses it. Although the Cistercians of North 
Berwick, county Haddington, in their first seal, of the thirteenth 
century, placed a bishop seated on a throne, with mitre, book, 
and sceptre, on the top of which is a dove, yet, in later seals, 
they followed the more usual style of using the representation 
of the Virgin and Child. 

Paisley Chapter Seal is another one of remarkable 
interest. This was the Cluniac Abbey of " Passelet," 
dedicated to St. James the Apostle and St. INIirinus, 
in Renfrewshire, close to Glasgow. Here are depicted the 
apostle with pilgrim's staff and wallet, appropriate emblems 
referring to the Great Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella 
presided over spiritually by the guardianship of this sainted 
Protector and Prince of Pilgrims. The adjuncts of subordinate 
adornments are curious and numerous in this scene. They 


consist of a crescent moon for the Virgin Mary, Queen of 
Heaven, lesser only to the resplendent Sun of Righteousness, 
two saltire crosses of St. Andrew of Scotland, a fleur-de-lis, two 
estoiles, seven crosses fleury, and two sprigs of foliage. The 
reverse side of the seal depicts St. Mirinus, with mitre, 
and vested in ecclesiastical robes ; a staff is in his left hand, and 
he lifts up his right hapd in the conventional attitude of one 
about to pronounce a benediction. The accessories here are a 
lleur-de-lis, a crescent, an estoile and two saltires, with sprigs 
of foliage and llowers. Each side, in addition to the above 
representation, is enriched with two shields of arms, those of 
Stuart and of Lennox. The designer did not fail to obtain a 
rhyming verse for the legend, after the approved pattern. 
Here we read an ingenious invocation, more Romano, to St. 
Mirinus — 


St. Mirinus appears on the shield of Abbot George Shaw about 
1490, standing as celebrant before an altar on which is a crucifix, 
with chalice, and behind it a crozier. The heavens open 
overhead and disclose a celestial figure descending on the abbot. 
A later seal, that of Abbot Robert Shaw, about 1498, gives St. 


James with nimbus, staff, and escallop shell — particular symbol 
of St. James, and still so used as a cockade for the servants of 
those who owe suit and service by office or right to the sovereign 
of Great Britain's " Court of St. James." 

The Trinitarian Friars of Peebles use the design of a cross 
on a plinth or grieces. The Friars Dominicans of Perth use the 
effigies of the Virgin and Child, or of St. John Baptist and St. 
James, their patron saints. The Carthusians of Perth, the 
'' Domiis Vallis Virtutis ordinis Cartusie in Scocia^' selected the 
subject of the "Coronation of the Virgin," to which was added 
in base an effigy of King James I., who founded the monastery 
in 1429, kneeling on a cushion and worshipping the heavenly 
group. Pittenweem, removed from the Island of May, an 
Austin Priory of St. Mary, in county Fife, represents on its seal 
the effigy of St. Augustine, the patron of its Order, between the 
explanatory initials s. a., for ''Sanctus Augustiniis!' Pluscardine, 
in Moray, one of the three Scottish houses of the remarkable 
Order of Val-des-choux, or Vallis Caulium, whose head was in 
France near Dijon and Chatillon-sur-Seine, possessed a curious 
matrix of the fourteenth century on which was contained the 
" Descent into Hell," a very rare subject on seals. Here we 
see the Saviour, in his mystical or post-resurrection state, wearing 



the nimbus, and provided with a long staff cross, in the act of 
rescuing two human figures, perhaps Adam and Eve, from the 
conventional and realistic "Jaws of Hell." In the field of this 
tableau are introduced two heraldic mullets or five-pointed stars, 
in allusion to the dominant armorial charge of the noble family 
of Murray. Alexander Seton, prior of this house, possessed a 
" Sigillum Rotundum," whereon were engraved three canopied 
niches containing effigies of St. Andrew with his ever-attendant 
saltire cross, between St. Mary the Virgin holding the Child, 
and St. Margaret holding a book and sceptre. In base are 
the armorial bearings of Seton, and other details subordinate. 

South Oueensferry, or " Portus Regin?e," in county Linlith- 
gow, was the seat of a house of Carmelite Friars, whose seal shows 
the Virgin Mary as the crowned Queen of Heaven, standing on 
a crescent moon, which possibly corroborates the suggestion 
already made here, that the crescent is a symbol of, and 
frequently stands for, the Virgin. Another variant type 
connected with the Virgin is indicated by the seals of the Royal 
Collegiate Church of the Blessed Trinity and the Virgin Mary 
of Restalrig, or Rastalryg, in Mid Lothian, near Edinburgh, 
where, in addition to the accustomed effigy, under a carved 
canopy, we find a shield of arms in base, the heraldic bearing 


whereon is a vase or pot with three branches of lily flowers 
springing from out thereof. This blazon seems to point 
unmistakably to the X'irgin, to whom the mediaeval heralds — 
who had not hesitated to assign armorial bearings to Adam and 
Eve, to our Lord, and to the patriarchs and prophets of the 
Old and apostles of the New Dispensation — would have been 
indeed wanting had they failed to grant corresponding heraldic 
honour. Connected with Restalrig is the armorial seal, under 
date of 1543, of Master John Sinkler, the Dean, afterwards 
Bishop of Brechin, the prelate by whom the marriage of Mary, 
Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley was solemnised. 

St. Andrews, in Fifeshire, sheltered an Austin Priory of 
Regular Canons, whose priors employed on their seals the 
effigy of the premier saint of their country. Here is set St. 
Andrew on a saltire, or X-shaped cross, at one time accompanied 
with two attendant angels, holding candles on candlesticks ; at 
another time the candlesticks are introduced into the design, 
but the angels are omitted. The same saint is adopted in the 
seal of the Dominicans, or Preacher-Friars, of this city in the 
fifteenth century. But these friars had also another seal on 
which is represented the Coronation of the Virgin in a canopied 
niche. The legend of this seal is either blundered, or obscurely 


read. One of their Common Seals, of 1559, bears the Virgin 
Mary and Child, with a shield of arms in base, bearing the boar 
passant of St, Dominic, and thus constituting the arms of the 
priory. In another Common Seal of the sixteenth century the 
crucified figure of St, Andrew is accompanied with the Agnus 
Dei reguardant. The Chapel Royal of St, Mary at Kirkheugh, 
St. Andrews, had a seal in use, in 1575, on the one side of which 
was represented the Virgin with the Child and two attendant 
angels or worshippers. The Latin legend describes this as the 
" Chapter Seal of the Church of St, Mary, Chapel of the Lord 
King of Scots," On the other side is an effigyofa king with sceptre 
and orb or mound, and seated on a throne ; the background 
being filled up with tleurs-de-lis, which appertain rather to the 
Virgin than to the king, although that emblematic flower may 
have pointed appropriately enough to the tressure in the 
armorials of the Scottish sovereign. 

The Cistercian Priories of St, Bothan, county Berwick, 
and St, Leonard, near Perth, have left us seals of the thirteenth 
century, charged with representations of the Virgin with the 
Child, Scone, a famous Abbey of the Regular Canons of 
St, Augustine, in Perthshire, dedicated to the patronage of the 
Blessed Trinity and St, Michael the Archangel, had some very 


beautiful seals. There is one impression of a very archaic 
matrix attached to a document of 1237, among Laing's 
matchless collections, which shows a curious conventional form 
of the Abbey Church adorned with a central tower and side 
pinnacles. On the roof are set figures of the Almighty Father 
and the Son. The fanciful idea of the Divine Protector 
sitting on the roof of an ecclesiastical or monastic edifice, which 
they are specially invoked to uphold, is not altogether 
uncommon in mediaeval art. Burton-on-Trent Abbey, in 
Staffordshire, for example, has, for a seal design, the Mrgin 
Mary seated on the roof of the Abbey Church. The later seal 
of Scone appears to have been made in the fourteenth 
century. Laing has preserved a good example from a deed 
of 1560. This is of the large dimensions of three inches and a 
half The obverse contains a representation of the Coronation 
of the King of Scots, which ceremony took place as a rule at 
Scone on the celebrated stone, although there were numerous 
exceptions to the rule in the later mediaeval times, as, for 
example, in the cases of James II., who was crowned at 
Holyrood, 25th March, 1437; James III., at Kelso, loth 
August, 1460; James v., at Stirling, September, 1513; Mary, 
at Stirling Castle, 9th September, 1543; James VL, 29th July, 


1567, at Stirling Parish Kirk. James IV, appears to have been 
the last of the Kings of Scots whose coronation took place at 
Scone, which event is usually attributed to 26th June, 1488, 
althoui^h other dates have been mentioned by histories in 
regard to it. As a matter of fact, on the marriage of David, 
eldest son of King Robert I., and heir-apparent to the throne, 
to Johanna, sister of Edward III., King of England, which 
was solemnised at Berwick-on-Tweed, 17th July, 1328, one of 
the stipulations in the nuptial contract was that the "coronation 
stone " — lapis ille grandis — which had been sent to Westminster 
Abbey by Edward I., King of England, who was at Scone, 8th 
August, 1296, should be returned to Scotland, but the Abbot of 
Westminster refused to allow the removal, and the stone 
remains to this day in Westminster Abbey, and plays a part 
in the Coronation of the Emperor Kings of Great Britain. 
This is the stone which tradition declares to be the one which 
Jacob used as his pillow, as recorded in Holy Writ. Here, in 
the seal, sits the King on his throne, crowned and sceptred, 
surrounded by seven great officers of state, one of whom is a 
bishop or archbishop, engaged in the several offices connected 
with the coronation. Below are three shields of arms of the 
Realm of Scotland, Athole, and Strathearn, and the background 


is replenished with quatrefoils. The reverse is a scriptural 
combination of the enthronement of the Blessed Trinity, 
supported by the emblems of the Four Evang-elists, and 
accompanied by St. Michael the Archangel overcoming Satan, 
supported on each side by the mystical figure, winged, and 
standing on a wheel, as related in the vision of Ezekiel the 
Prophet. The group of Michael and Satan finds a place also 
— as befits the place of dedication — in the thirteenth century 
seal of the abbot. 

Seton, or Seatoun, Collegiate Church, represents the Virgin 
and Child, with heraldry, on its seal. Soulseat, called also 
Salsideum, Sedes Animarum, or Viride Stagnum, a Cistercian 
Priory of St. Mary and St. John Evangelist, at Inch, near 
Stranraer, in Galloway, departs from the Cistercian rule of 
figuring the Virgin and Child on the seal, and in place thereof 
represents a curiously beautiful tree of three branches, on which 
are perched two birds, each of which has a small sprig of foliage 
in the beak, while at the foot of the tree are two smaller birds, 
each set on a stump or cut branch. Some writers — among 
whom is Cardonnel, author of the " Picturesque Antiquities of 
Scotland " — seek to show that this house was not Cistercian but 
Premonstratensian, and the device on the seal appears to 


negative the Cistercian origin of the institution. Yet another 
noble Cistercian Abbey of Galloway is that of Sweetheart, 
otherwise styled Douce-Ouer, Suave-Cordium, Dulce Cor, or 
New Abbey, in the parish of New Abbey, Galloway, county 
Kirkcudbright, and not far from Dumfries, where a seal was in 
use in 1559, representing the \^irgin and Child, each crowned, 
upon a back-ground replenished with tlowers. The Premon- 
stratensians of Tungland, in Galloway, perpetuated the use of 
the vested arm and dexter hand grasping a crozier, between two 
branches, a crescent moon and sun star, which we have already 
seen was a favourite combination of the thirteenth century, and 
not devoid of signification. 

Our list closes (although there are many seals which 
want of space would not permit of mentioning in this review 
of the leading designs of Scottish monastic seals), with a 
fourteenth century seal of an uncertain Cistercian house in 
Scotland, where the Yirg-in and Child are attended by a priest 
celebrating mass at an altar on which is placed a chalice. The 
legend declares this to be the seal of the Prior of the \"alley of 
St. Katherine, but the only reason for attributing it to a Scottish 
house is that it is included among the later Laing collections in 
the British Museum. Laing also obtained a very interesting^ 


seal attached to a document dated 1292, which undoubtedly- 
appertained to a certain Reginald, who was either a bishop or 
an abbot in Scotland. Its inclusion among the collection of that 
antiquary attest this, and the style both of design and legend 
corroborates the conjecture. Here the Virgin and Child are 
placed between two sainted bishops or abbots, with mitres and 
croziers, lifting up their hands in the act of pronouncing 
benediction, all set in three niches, over which is a carved 
canopy, the architectural details of which resemble those of a 
church or abbey. Below is an ecclesiastic under a trefoiled 
arch, adoring the celestial personages, and having his name 
Reginaldus at the sides. The legend is distinctly Scottish, and 
follows with faulty step in the third foot the rhyming Leonine 
hexameter scansion, which has been already the subject of our 
attention. It reads — 


This account of Monastic Seals would be incomplete without 
some reference to those of the several Orders of Monks and 
Friars who peopled the Religious Houses which owned the 
seals thus described. Unfortunately very few such seals have 


been preserved. The Dominicans, also called Black-Friars or 
Preaching-Friars, used for their Vicars General the design of 
St. Andrew, as referring to the realm wherein they exercised 
their spiritual jurisdiction. For their Priors Provincial the 
figure of St. Dominic was employed. In one case a late seal of 
this functionary, attached to a deed dated 1 5 1 9, gives the patron 
saint with a crucifix, and behind him a dog running with a fire- 
brand, symbolical of the holy fervour with which the 
Dominicans were credited, and not without allusion to the 
nourishment and dissemination of the flame of heavenly inspira- 
tion, which, long before the epoch of Christianity, had engaged 
the attention of classic philosophers. Both the Vicars General 
and Ministers Provincial of the Franciscans, Grey-Friars, or 
Minorites of Scotland, used the effigy of their patron. Saint 
Francis, in the latter case in juxtaposition with that of St. 
Andrew. The Trinitarian Friars, employed in the redemption 
of the captives, use one or other of the numerous mediaeval 
representations of the Blessed Trinity upon the seals of their 
X'icar General, Minister Provincial, and Visitor. The Car- 
melites, or White Friars, had on their seal for the Provincial 
General in 1492 a figure of St. Andrew on his saltire cross 
between a crescent and star and two thistles — truly a thoroughly 


Scottish conception — but rejected this in 1544 for a figure of the 
Virgin Mary holding the Child. 

Among the Military Orders which had establishments within 
the realm of Scotland was that of the Knights Hospitallers of St. 
John of Jerusalem, whose Preceptory at Torphichen in West 
Lothian (county Linlithgow), possessed several curious seals. 
The dominant idea is that of St. John Baptist holding his symbol, 
the Agnus Dei, generally on a plaque or roundle, the earlier 
examples also carrying the crescent and wavy sun-star, or the 
rose, the latter accompanied with heraldry. 

Here we close our survey of the Seals of Religious Houses 
in Scotland. They form a class by themselves, different from 
the contemporary Seals of English Houses by their greater 
simplicity and chasteness, but equal to them in taste and feeling, 
and indicating very considerable merit for the invention of their 
designs, many of which (while all are distinctly appropriate and 
well chosen) show anxious care, true artistic spirit, obedience to 
the accepted canons of balance and symmetry of grouping, 
subordination of attributes to the dominating central figure, and 
an ever-present master-spirit of religious knowledge and 
tradition. To this we owe the beautiful effigies of the Queen 
of Heaven with the Child, which occur so frequently, the 


introduction of emblems and symbols of accepted and universal 
meaning, the cleverly constructed legends and inscriptions, and, 
in a word, the conception of the ensemble. Looked at from 
the mere standpoint of relics of an antiquity that has passed 
away for ever, they possess a priceless value as showing what 
could be produced in ages generally considered to be inferior to 
the present ; but when we add to this the sacred inspiration 
which created them, and the loving energy which produced 
them, we owe to these examples of Scottish art a debt of 
admiration which it would be difficult to repay adequately. 


Plates Nos. 54 to 126. 

Plates Nos. 1 to 53 were published in Volume I. under title of 
Royal Seals of Scotland. 

No. 54. Seal of Richard, Bisliop of St. Andrews. 


No. 55. Roger, BlsKop Elect of St. Andrews. 

(About 118S.) 


No. 56. Obverse of the Seal of William Malvoisine, 
BisKop of St. Andrews. 



No. 57. Reverse of the Seal of William Malvoisine, 

Bishop of St. Andrews. 


No. 58. First Seal or William Fraser, Bishop of 

St. Andrews. 

No. 59. Obverse of tlie later Seal of William Fraser, 
Bishop of St. Andrews. 


No. 60. Reverse of the later Seal of William Fraser, 
Bisliop of St. Andrews. 




No. 61. Seal of William Landells, Bishop of St. Andrews. 

No. 62. Seal of James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews. 

No. 63. " Sigillum Rotundum " of Alexander Stuart, 
Archbishoip of St. Andrews. 




No. 64. Seal of Alexander Stuart, Archbishop of St. 
Andrews, Commendator of Dunfermline. 



No. 65. Seal of David Beton, Cardinal Arclibisliop of 
St. Andrews. 


No. 66. Later Seal of St. Andrews CatHedral 
{Thirteenth Century.) 


No. 67. Seal of Henry Le CKen, Bishop of Aberdeen. 



No. 68. Reverse of the Seal of the Chapter of Aberdeen. 

(Fu urteon tit ( 'en t u ry. ) 


No. 69. Seal of George Shorsewood, Bishop of Brechin. 


(I :■ 


No. 70. Seal of John Balfour, Bishop of Brechin. 

No. 71. Seal of the Chapter of Caithness. 

(Thirtt'entlt Centurij.) 


No. 72. Seal of Richard de Prebenda, Bishop of Dunkeld, 
or Secretum of the Chapter of Dunkeld. 



No. 73. Obverse of the Seal of the Chapter of Dunkeld. 

( TJiirti'1'ntJi ( 'ciifiin/.) 


^ aoiSv'*^ 

No. 74. Reverse of the Seal of tKe Chapter of Dunkeld. 
( Th irteen th CeiUuri/. ) 


No. 75. Seal of the Chapter of Orkney. 

{Fourteenth L 'cittury.) 


No. 76. Reverse of the Second Seal of Robert Wlshart, 
BisKop of Glasgow. 



No. 77. Seal of William Lauder, BisKop of Glasgow. 

(141:. J 


No. 78. Seal of John de Carrick, Chancellor of Glasgow. 



No. 79. Obverse of the Seal of Alan, Bishop of Argyle. 


No. 80. Reverse of the Seal of Alan, Bishop of Argyle. 


No. 81. Seal of a Bishop of Argyle. 

( Foiirti'i'ittli or Fijti'i'iitli Vnidnrii.) 


No. 82. OWerse of the Seal of Gilbert, Bishop of 
Candida Casa. 

No. 83. Counterseal of Gilbert, BisKop of Candida Casa. 


No. 84. Obverse of the Seal of Henry, Bishop of 

Candida Casa. 



No. 85. Reverse of the Seal of Henry, Bishop of 
Candida Casa. 


No. 86. Seal of Tkomas, Bishop of Candida Casa. 

No. 87. Obverse of the Seal of Arbroath Abbey. 
( TItlrteeatIt Century.) 

No. 88. Reverse of the Seal of ArbroatK Abbey. 

(Thirteenth Centur;/.) 


No. 89. Seal of Brother W. Matliew, Monk of ArbroatK. 
( Thirteonth Century.) 

No. 90. Seal of the Convent of Ardcliattan. 



No. 91. Seal of Balmerino Abbey. 



No. 92. Seal of tKe Minister of tKe Trinitarian Friars, 

( Fifti''-litJl ('r)lt>(n/.) 


No. 93. Seal of CambuskennetH Abbey. 

( Thirteenth Cent tin/.) 

No. 94. Seal of the Prior and Chapter of Candida C. 
( Thirteeatk CeiUuri/.) 


No. 95. Common Seal of Coldingham Nunnery. 



No. 96. Seal of Robert Blacader, Prior of Coldingham and 
Apostolic Prothonotary. 

No. 97. Common Seal of Deer Abhey. 

(Till, if' lit I, i'rntHr,/.) 

No. 98. Common Seal of Dunbar Provostry. 



No. 99. First Seal of Dunfermline Abbey. 

^.:^<d^'^ ;^^^< 

No. 100. Obverse of the Later Seal of the Chapter of 
Dunfermline Abbey. 


No. 101. Reverse of the Later Seal of the Chapter of 
Dunfermline Abbey. 

(About 1200.) 

No. 102. Seal of Ralph, Abbot of Dunfermline. 


No. 103. Seal of St. Katherine's Convent, Edinburgh. 

No. 104. First Seal of Holyrood Abbey. Edinburgh. 


No. 105. Later Seal of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. 

(Ahouf ir>r,o.) 









No. 106. Later Seal of the Collegiate Church of Holy 
Trinity, Edinburgh. 




No. 107. Seal of the Preceptory or Hospital of 

St. Nicholas, Glasgow. 



No. 108. Commcn Seal oi tKe Abbot and Convent oi 
Holywood, 1557. 

(Thir(('i-nth CcDtury.) 


No. 109. Obverse ol the Seal of Inchaffrey Abbey. 

(Fourteenth Century.) 

* 'A 

t ivt/^' 

No. 110. Reverse of the Seal of IncKaffrey Abbey. 

(Fuurtventk Ce/tti'n/.) 


No. 111. Obverse of tKe Seal of Inchcolm Abbey. 

No. 112. Reverse of the Seal of Inchcolm Abbey. 

No. 113. Official Seal of the Ahbot of Jedburgh or 




No. 114. Obverse of the Third Seal of Kelso Abhey. 

(Fuiirjrriith ('•■lit III- 1/.) 





No. 115. Reverse of tKe Third Seal of Kelso Abbey. 

( Fii vrtfi'V (h Cfiitx rtj. ) 


No. 116. Seal of the Preceptory of St. Anthony at Leith. 

No. 117. Seal of Linlithgow Leper House. 



No. 118. Obverse of the Seal of Paisley Abbey. 

No. 119. Reverse of tKe Seal of Paisley Abbey. 


No. 120. Seal of Pluscardine Priory. 

No. 121. Seal of John Hepburn, Prior of the Austin 
Canons of St. Andrews, etc. 

No. 122. Obverse of tKe Later Seal of Scone Abbey. 

( Fi»irti'Piitli ( 'I'ntiir/t.) 

No. 123. Reverse of the Later Seal of Scone Abbey. 

(Fnnrtvi'nth ( 'I'nttin/. ) 


No. 124. Seal of tlie Vicar-General of the Scottish 
Dominican Friars. 

(Fiftwnth (Viitiirj/.) 


No. 125. Seal of the Provincial of the Scottish Carmelites. 


No. 12b. Seal of Sir James Sandilands, Knight. Preceptor 
of lorphichen. 

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